Thomas Tawney: Candidate profile
Name: Thomas Tawney
City: West Chicago
Office sought: Library trustee
Occupation: Retired; formerly, Executive Recruiter
Education: Bachelor's Degree -- Psychology
Civic involvement: Former President of The West Chicago Public Library District Foundation; Former Member of St. Mary's School Board; Former member of St. Mary's Church Finance Committee; Former Lay Reader, St. Mary's Church; Former Assistant Commissioner and Coach AYSO (Soccer); Former Advisor to the Americas Adult Soccer League; Former Coach to St. Mary's Jr. High Soccer Team; Current Board Member, Mexican Cultural Center; Helped establish, and am an active Volunteer with, the West Chicago Mexican Independence Day Celebration since 1992; Current Volunteer and Coach for the Miss Mexican Heritage Pageant; Current Theater Manager and Board Member, Gallery Theater, West Chicago
Previous elected offices held: Current Trustee of the West Chicago Public Library District. (Appointed January 2018)
What are the most important issues facing your library district and how do you intend to address them?
Providing free and open access to information. Providing strong support services for the Immigrant Community in their assimilation process.
Continue to provide the traditional role of American Public Libraries by providing free access to books, periodicals, internet, videos and interlibrary services to those who can't afford to access these services on their own. Maintaining a financially sound Public Library without changing the current tax rate -- unchanged since 2000. Maintaining an up-to-date Public Library through innovative technologies.
Responding to changing demographics and information needs of the Community. Each of the above challenges must be met with aggressive information gathering and creative solutions within budgetary constraints.
Why are you running for office? Is there a particular issue that motivates you? If so, what is it?
I wish to see the West Chicago Public Library continue to offer free access to information for those who cannot afford it, in the historically traditional mission of American Public Libraries. I am further motivated to oppose Censorship including "Censorship Lite" (placing materials on a "must ask for" shelf) as a result of an attempt by individuals to Censor a book In The West Chicago Public Library in August of 2017; https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-gay-pride-childrens-book-west-chicago-library-met-20170829-story.html.
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.
As an Incumbent Trustee since January of 2018, I consider my major accomplishment to have been to promote consensus and strife reduction in the function of the Library board of trustees resulting in passage of major projects previously delayed.
Do you have a library card? How long have you had it? How often do you use it?
I have held a Library Card with the West Chicago Library since the early eighties. I visit the West Chicago Library at least once a week to use the various resources available.
What impact have economic and technological changes had on libraries? How does a library remain relevant? How should its role in the community change?
Public Libraries remain ever relevant in their traditional role of providing an informational portal, for those who cannot afford such access on their own, such as via available computer terminals and Wi-Fi access. The traditional role of American Public Libraries in providing free access to books, periodicals, videos and interlibrary services has been further expanded to provide such services as FAXs, Copiers, Notary Public, Music performances, Craft demonstrations, ESL classes, Discussion groups, Book Clubs, Children's Hour, Teen Clubs, Computer Clubs, Gaming Clubs, and many more. The West Chicago Public Library is located within walking distance of 40 percent of the District's population. 51 percent of the District's population has a West Chicago Public Library Card attesting to the modern relevance of a well run Public Library. The key to remaining relevant is in actively listening to the changing informational needs of the Community served.