Amy Mueller: 2021 candidate for Schaumburg Township Library Trustee
Seven candidates for four 4-year terms
Hometown: Hoffman Estates
Age on Election Day: 53
Occupation: High School social studies teacher
Employer: York Community High School
Civic involvement: Commissioner of the Hoffman Estates Arts Commission, board member on the Illinois Mock Trial Coaches Association
Q. Why are you running for the library board? Is there a particular issue that motivates you, and if so, what is it?
A. Community service is at the heart of my desire to serve on the Library Board. As a lifelong member of this community, I value the library as a resource to be used by everyone. I plan to work collaboratively with the other Board members to continue to bring quality programming and resources to all members of Schaumburg Township. I am an educator and a student enrolled in a Masters of Library and Information Science degree program at the University of Missouri. I have the experience and knowledge necessary to advocate for the library, to responsibly manage the library's budget, and to evaluate and cooperate effectively with the Executive Director.
I would encourage the library to consider taking steps to earn a Sustainable Library Certification. The Sustainable Library Initiative encourages libraries to make decisions and develop policies that are socially equitable, environmentally sound, and economically feasible. The American Library Association adopted this sustainability model as a core value in librarianship in 2019. Goals for the library should include connecting with underserved populations through increased outreach, promoting environmentally friendly behavior, and remaining fiscally responsible. Our library should be a role model for other libraries in the state by adopting this sustainability mindset.
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 curbside pickup services offered by the library benefitted many patrons in the past year. The convenience, ease, and safety of this program ensured that community members could continue to utilize library resources. Patrons appreciated the efforts to serve them during the pandemic. I would promote the continuation of such convenient services in the future. The transition to virtual programming also offered patrons access to resources and entertainment. The regular updates on social media and through email communications kept community members aware of the status of the library and the services it continued to offer. Going forward, communication with current, and especially potential patrons, needs to be a primary focus. I would work toward finding ways to connect with those who may not be accessing the library resources.
Q. Has your library seen a significant shift in the use of online materials? Has it adequately bolstered and promoted its online collection?
A. As a classroom teacher and a current graduate student I can confirm the growth of online materials in education. As a mother of three, I can likewise confirm the growth of these materials for personal use. The Schaumburg Township District Library commendably offers a variety of digital databases as well as electronic media to fulfill multiple needs. The library's online catalog contains an impressive cross-section of digital resources for patrons such as eBooks, eAudiobooks, online magazines, as well as music and movies online. These resources reflect the significant shift to online materials that we are seeing in libraries around the nation. These resources are promoted through information and posters in the libraries, email communications, and through social media postings. One of my goals for the library would be to increase the visibility of online materials. The convenience and flexibility online resources allow patrons is invaluable. The library needs to continue to promote their availability, and make it easy for patrons to access these valuable resources.
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. As part of the Sustainable Library Initiative, I am interested in reaching groups that are currently underserved in our community. Identifying those groups, and finding creative ways to communicate with and serve them would be an initiative that I would discuss with the Executive Director, Annie Miskewitch. I see our public libraries as bastions of democracy, which allow all members equal access to a place to learn, gather, and explore. A goal of any library is to reach as many community members as possible so that they may take advantage of the resources available.
Q. Do you have a library card? How long have you had it? How often do you use it?
A. I have been an active patron of the library since I was a child growing up in Schaumburg Township. I remember using the card catalog in the library while doing research in grade school! I continue to use my library card at least a few times a month to check out books, gain access to eAudiobooks, use the library meeting rooms, and borrow DVD's for use in my social studies classroom.
Q. What other issues need to be addressed?
A. Public libraries hold a sacred place in American culture as one of our most democratic institutions. The democratic ideal of having equal opportunity for all people is embodied in the public library mission. The Schaumburg Library is home to a diverse population. It is crucial that the library meets the needs of all members of the community with an eye toward equitable access. The Board Members are servants of the community who have a responsibility to carefully spend taxpayer dollars to meet the ever changing needs of the community. It is imperative that all seven members be able to work collaboratively to meet this goal. My experiences as a board member on the Illinois Mock Trial Coaches Association, and as Commissioner on the Hoffman Estates Arts Commission have given me valuable experience in working cooperatively. If elected, I intend to take advantage of the experience of the current board members as I navigate this new role. I would relish an opportunity to contribute to the continued success of the Schaumburg library. It would be a privilege to serve Schaumburg Township as a member of the Library Board, and I ask for your support on April 6 by voting for Amy Mueller.