Cynthia "Cindy" Blank: Candidate profile
Name: Cynthia "Cindy" Blank
City: Lake Zurich
Office sought: Ela Area Public Library Board (4-year term)
Family: Married to Roger Blank for 43 years; 3 grown children raised in Lake Zurich: 2 married Kate (Jarrod), Michael (Kimberly), Kevin; 2 grandchildren
Occupation: Supply Chain professional focusing on process improvements. Retired in 2010 from Kraft Foods
Education: MBA from University of Chicago; BS from Benedictine University with a triple major in Math, Business Economics and Physical Education
Civic involvement: Trustee Ela Area Public Library (2011-2014, 2015-2019) Current: Active volunteering at St. Francis de Sales Church (Lector Coordinator, Bereavement Ministry, Administration for Women's Retreat); Committee Member for Boy Scouts of America Troop 93; and BSA Merit Badge Counselor (Personal Mgt, Family Life, American Business, & Public Speaking).
Past: St. Francis de Sales Confirmation Leader (2001-2007); colead for LZHS Soccer Booster Program (2002-2004); Boy Scout Troop 93 Committee Chair (1997-2004); Cub Scout Pack 309 Cubmaster (1995-1997); Cub Scout Pack 309 Charted Organization Rep (1992-1995).
Previous elected offices held: Trustee Ela Area Public Library (2011-2014, 2015-2019)
Incumbent? Yes, first elected in 2011
What are the most important issues facing your library district and how do you intend to address them?
The most important issue is to maintain fiscal responsibility while providing new technologies to the public. We are positioned well with an excellent Executive Director, Matt Womack, and his staff who are focused on serving the community.
Why are you running for office? Is there a particular issue that motivates you? If so, what is it?
I value what our library offers to the community. It has received prestigious recognition as one of the nation's best libraries from the Library Journal's Index of Public Service. I am proud to be a part of this quality library. I feel privileged to be giving back to the community by serving on the Board and I welcome the opportunity to continue to do so.
If you are an incumbent, describe your main contributions. Tell us of important initiatives you've led. If you are a non-incumbent, tell us what contributions you would make.
I have served as Board President for the past 4 years. In this role, I lead the Board meetings, serve as chair for the Personnel Committee for the Executive Director review and goal establishment, and serve on the Finance Committee for detail review of budgets and investments. In April of 1999, the voters elected to construct our current library building with a $13.9 million bond. In December 2018, we made the final payment. Over the years, these bonds had been refinanced to take advantage of lower interest rates as they became available, saving taxpayers over $1.3 million. We developed a new strategic plan and long range facilities plan. We remodeled the program room in the children's department. We also instituted a "No Late Fees" policy, which has improved public relations as well as the return of materials. In my prior term, I performed the role and duties of Board Secretary for 4 years.
Do you have a library card? How long have you had it? How often do you use it?
Yes, I got my first Ela library card about 37 years ago. My husband and I use our library cards frequently, checking out books, DVDs, and other materials for ourselves and for our grandchildren. We check out e-books on Overdrive, use the Forge for 3-D printing, have used the vinyl cutter for special projects, and use the Digital Media lab for copying VHS tapes to digital. There is so much one is able to do at EAPL!
What impact have economic and technological changes had on libraries? How does a library remain relevant? How should its role in the community change?
Technological changes require libraries to keep current. EAPL provides opportunities for our patrons to try and learn different technologies. It is a benefit for those who cannot afford to invest in them or might perhaps prefer to try them out before they invest. Examples include e-readers, tablets, Macs, PCs, various software, virtual reality, telescopes, Roku, and fishing poles, to name a few. The library has evolved from just lending books to becoming a hub for the community to gather, learn and collaborate; thus, executing its mission statement: "Share the joy of discovery".