Christian A. Schelthoff: Candidate profile
Name: Christian A. Schelthoff
Office Sought: Lisle Library District Board Trustee
Family: Married, two children
Occupation: retired, but former auditor for US Customs, managed three labs in Physiology/Biophysics Department at University of Illinois at the Medical Center, 15 years legal assistant; presently publish a couponing website (since 2010)
Education: BA (Accounting) University of IL at Chicago
Civic involvement: volunteered 5+ years at food pantry; delivered for Meals on Wheels; led teams for 2010 Census and special censuses in several suburbs
Previous elected offices held: None
Incumbent? If yes, when were you first elected?
* What are the most important issues facing your library district and how do you intend to address them?
The Board needs to focus on policies and plans for the future, not managing day-to-day activities -- that's the Director's job. Watch a few LLD Board meetings on YouTube to see what I mean. When staff is cut to the bone, it impacts everyone; two 20 hour employees do not equal a full-time one because you lose continuity and if the only reason to use part-timers and volunteers is to save on health costs, that's not right. As a heavy user I frequently encounter books missing from a series because of damage or other loss, yet the staffer responsible for that category is gone and that responsibility is split. We need to spend money on additional staff; we are well-funded and it's time to use some of those funds.
* Why are you running for office? Is there a particular issue that motivates you? If so, what is it?
First off, I have no horse in this race -- I am in excellent health and take classes like kickboxing and tap dancing at COD to prove it. I'm running because we need to bring all people into the library: those who are disabled, don't drive or can't afford internet are part of our community, too, yet have been marginalized. Eight months to repair an elevator vital to those who can't use stairs? Washroom counters too high for those in wheelchairs or small children to reach? Let's set more daytime adult classes for those who don't drive at night. Investigate a weekly service to transport those residents so they can spend a few hours a week taking a class, choosing movies and books, going online and socializing -- help maintain their independence. Senior residences offer transportation; do we just ignore those who can't afford those places? And no, the answer is not Ride DuPage (already checked that out).
* 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.
How about allowing patrons to pay the cost of magazine subscriptions or books dedicated to a loved one (like those bricks they sell). Small amounts individually, but they free up funds for more programs for just the cost of a paper label. As an extreme couponer, I always look for the best deal because savings add up. How about classes in nutrition for those with diabetes or pre-diabetes? Reach out to the local hospitals and health centers; they often offer presentations by nutritionists for free or at low cost.
* Do you have a library card? How long have you had it? How often do you use it?
Yes, received my library card within the first week of moving to Lisle in 1997 and visit at least 3-4 times per week; I'd consider myself a very heavy user and try to read at least 2-3 books a week in different genres, although I am currently fixated on cozy mysteries.
* What impact have economic and technological changes had on libraries? How does a library remain relevant? How should its role in the community change?
Economic change means a once thriving town with two hardware stores and a bakery now has tumbleweeds down Main Street so now it's up to the Village to attract new retail business and their tax revenue; perhaps the new retail/residential complex on Main Street will result in more revenue and patrons alike! While many people feel e-books will do away with most print books, they don't realize the library pays a significant fee for those downloads (and the library is limited to the number of downloads of a book at a time); sometimes it makes more sense to buy print versions! Hard to predict just what changes lie ahead -- think of all the shelf space VHS tapes required compared to Blu-ray Discs. I'd like to see the library as more than just a place to grab a book or movie. Let's make it more of a community center; a dedicated space with tables and chairs for folks to drink a beverage while they read or use their laptops or meet friends for a class. A destination where it's physically impossible to use the 3-minute drop off parking because there's just so much going on!