Rosemary Groenwald: 2021 candidate for Mount Prospect Library Trustee
Three candidates for two 6-year terms
Hometown: Mount Prospect
Occupation: Librarian (I'll be retired at the time of the election.)
Employer: Mount Prospect Public Library (I'll be retired at the time of the election.)
Civic involvement: None at this time.
Q. Why are you running for the library board? Is there a particular issue that motivates you, and if so, what is it?
A. Having worked at the Mount Prospect Public Library for over 33 years, I am passionate about our excellent library and all the wonderful services it provides to the community. I've worked from within the library to help it grow into the library it is today and to help build the services, programs, and collections that the library offers our residents. I'm a vocal library advocate committed to promoting all of the services that library staff have worked tirelessly to implement and offer. I'll be retired at the time of the election and my retirement offers me the opportunity to continue my connection with the library, albeit in a different role as a Library Board trustee. As a librarian with a Master's Degree in Library Services, I have much to offer in terms of my extensive knowledge of librarianship and library services and sharing this information in the role of a library board trustee will supplement and strengthen the Board's effectiveness and can only make our organization even better. Although the Library Director is a librarian, she is not a Library Board Trustee, and therefore is only able to recommend to the Board actions and decisions they might make. My library background will allow me the opportunity as a voting trustee to support the Library Director regarding topics of library services. I bring a unique perspective that I feel is not represented on the current Library Board.
Q. Did your library continue to adequately serve its constituents during the disruptions caused by the pandemic? If so, please cite an example of how it successfully adjusted to continue providing services. If not, please cite a specific example of what could have been done better.
A. The library quickly responded to the disruptions caused by the pandemic in a number of ways that continued to afford the community access to library services. Almost immediately, the library significantly increased the number of digital resource titles (e-books, e-audiobooks, and electronic periodicals) in its collection so that patrons had greater access to online materials. This strengthened effort has continued throughout the last eleven months. In addition. all types of virtual programs were fashioned in order to reach out to various members of the community and to ensure that we stayed in touch with our patrons. In particular, because summer reading programs are immensely popular with our patrons, library staff planned and implemented a virtual summer reading program that afforded library patrons an opportunity to participate even while the library was closed to the public. Although the community demand for online materials grew exponentially as a result of the pandemic, patron demand for physical materials did not abate. In order to allow patron's access to our physical collection when the library building was initially closed to the public, Parking Lot Pickup (curbside pickup) was a new service put into effect. Each and every one of the library's responses to afford the community continued access to the library's collections and services during this past year of the pandemic were extremely well received by the community.
Q. Has your library seen a significant shift in the use of online materials? Has it adequately bolstered and promoted its online collection?
A. Yes, without a doubt, community use of our online materials grew exponentially as a result of the pandemic. While many library patrons were already users of e-books, e-audiobooks, and electronic periodicals, many more members of the community that had never taken advantage of any of these materials before, became new users. In particular, the number of users of the library's unlimited online magazine subscription more than doubled. Almost immediately, the library significantly increased the number of electronic resource titles (e-books, e-audiobooks, and electronic periodicals) in its collection so that patrons had greater access to online materials. This strengthened effort continued throughout the last eleven months and was bolstered even more in the last two months of 2020 when the library had to again close the building to the public. Information regarding these increases were publicized in a number of ways (i.e., social media outlets, electronic newsletter, print newsletter, news releases, conversations with patrons, etc.)
Q. 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.
A. My experience as a manager at MPPL for over twenty years, affords me the opportunity to make key contributions in two critical areas: (1) preparation of the annual library budget; (2) creating Strategic plans that guide the Library in meeting the community needs for library services. Among the Library Board's main responsibilities is the detailed review and approval of the library's annual budget. I'm intimately knowledgeable about the process the Board goes through each year working with the Library Director and management team to determine an annual budget that will allow the library to continue to provide excellent services to the community in a variety of ways. I've been significantly involved in the important process of formulating the library's annual budget. I've worked with both the past and present members of the Library Board to create six different Strategic Plans for the library over the course of the last twenty years. Strategic plans are necessary in order to steer the library on a path that will allow the library to continue providing excellent services to the Mount Prospect residents. This process involves examining the services the library offers and identifying those that provide a good fit with community needs while also considering new services that will allow the library to continue to keep abreast of community demand. Neither of the other candidates have been involved in developing a Strategic Plan for our library. Nor do they have the same depth of experience with the MPPL budget process.
Q. Do you have a library card? How long have you had it? How often do you use it?
A. I've had a Mount Prospect Public Library card since I moved to Mount Prospect in 1978. I use it at least once a week if not more.
Q. What other issues need to be addressed?
A. When the time comes to determine the 2022 annual budget, the difficulty will lie in funding services and collections to the level and extent that meets the requests of our residents, consistent with the financial realities of keeping the operating budget under control. It will be essential to find a balance between continuing to build upon current services popular with the community while at the same time adding new services that our residents have asked for. Most importantly, while a close watch will need to be kept on the salary line of the operating budget, we must be cognizant of the fact that the library's most valuable resource is its staff. A few examples of services to be considered and/or addressed are: developing and implementing extensive targeted services for both seniors and community residents in their twenties and thirties; finding a way to expand our outreach services currently available to the underserved community in the area around Randhurst should be an important focus; the addition of no-contact, "drop box" lockers placed at strategically determined locations around Mount Prospect would offer a way to service our residents in all areas of town; investigating the feasibility of adding more study rooms in order to meet continued community demand for them.