Jason Laureys: Candidate profile
Name: Jason Laureys
Office sought: Wauconda Area Public Library District Trustee
Family: Married and have two daughters (4th grade and 6th grade)
Occupation: Airline Pilot
Education: Bachelor of Science in Aviation Management, Southern Illinois University
Civic involvement: Original Committee Member for the Wauconda Cruise Night, served for five seasons.
Previous elected offices held: None
Incumbent? Yes. If yes, when were you first elected? Appointed 9/18/2018
What are the most important issues facing your library district and how do you intend to address them?
It's apparent that the state of Illinois, with the new governor, will be looking to raise revenues through additional taxes. As a result, I believe local taxing districts will come under increased scrutiny from tax payers. Managing taxpayer dollars efficiently, while maintaining the current level of resources and service, will be the highest priority. Implementing subcommittees within our board, most importantly a budget/finance committee, will bring trustees a better working knowledge of our library's operations. Our library has done a phenomenal job of keeping current with the technology, but more progress can be made with educating patrons on availability and usage. I plan to be an advocate for the library, and work one-on-one with residents. Finally, during the next four years, we will see our long-term library director, Tom Kern, retire after serving since 1992. The library has a highly competent staff, but having a hardworking and knowledgeable board of trustees will also be a key component in making for a smooth transition. If elected, I plan to keep current on library issues and take advantage of continuing education opportunities for library trustees.
Why are you running for office? Is there a particular issue that motivates you? If so, what is it?
As a longtime library patron myself, I am just happy to serve and contribute to our community in this capacity. In the summer of 2018, I learned, through a Daily Herald article, about the vacant board seat. I applied, and was selected, to fill the remainder of Terry Stevig's term. I think the Wauconda Library is a vital component of our community, and I'm happy to play a role in achieving our library's mission statement -- especially when it comes to encouraging reading and learning.
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.
While I am technically an incumbent, I was appointed to the board in the fall of 2018 (five months as of this writing). During this short tenure, I have focused on learning about the library, especially the budget. I am just starting to become knowledgeable on the library's operations, and I have not yet made any significant contributions worth mentioning. I have taken part in many board discussions as construction on the front entrance progressed and in the wake of the minor library fire. I hope my contributions to these discussions have been meaningful.
Do you have a library card? How long have you had it? How often do you use it?
Yes, I have had my library card since we first moved to Wauconda in 2006. When my kids were younger, we were frequent users of the Kid City and always leaving with books and materials to take home. My usage has varied over the years, my available time is now dictated by daughters' schedules and their activities. I currently find myself reading and checking out materials more in the winter, which is when I have more time to read -- visiting the library roughly three times per month. In the warmer months, the majority of my usage is digitally. I am a big fan of audiobooks via the digital apps, which allow me to do household chores while listening. I also use the library as a place to study for work. My favorite study place being the tables in the back and overlooking the natural landscape.
What impact have economic and technological changes had on libraries? How does a library remain relevant? How should its role in the community change?
With the emergence of smartphones, tablets, and e-books, many people thought libraries would have trouble remaining relevant, and while usage has most definitely evolved, usage numbers show that libraries continue to attract patrons. While patrons still leave with books and other materials, the work areas provide students and professionals a place to work alone or in a group, the computer terminals are frequently occupied, Kid City attracts families with the play areas and interactive games, and programs are varied and relevant to the community interests. And yes, people can now also check out materials digitally through apps. While recently released materials are still only available in hard copies, digital resources still provide a great selection of materials. Many of these changes in usage are already reflected in our library's current layout from the 2014/2015 renovation, some may even refer to it as more of a community center type layout. I believe our library has done a phenomenal job of keeping up with changes and recent technology. It is essential for the board and staff to stay current on new trends and technology by attending trade functions and continuing education.