Sarah Galla: 2021 candidate for Arlington Heights Library Trustee
Three candidates for two 6-year terms
Hometown: Arlington Heights
Occupation: I am currently the primary caregiver for our three children and am a graduate student, pursuing a master's degree in social work.
Civic involvement: Village of Arlington Heights Arts Commissioner; Olive-Mary Stitt Elementary School PTA (PTA President, Nominating Committee, Library Volunteer, Room Parent), COAC Potluck for Peace (Event Planning Committee); Girl Scout Troop Leader; Yoga Teacher for Women in Recovery; OMNI Youth Services (Volunteer, Creator of Yoga in the Classroom Toolkit); Journeys the Road Home (Kitchen Assistant)
Q. Why are you running for the library board? Is there a particular issue that motivates you, and if so, what is it?
A. As a member of this community, I am aware of the significant position our library holds here in Arlington Heights. The library is the hub of the community, connecting people to programs, services, resources, and information. Libraries are continuing to shift to meet the needs of the future, continuing to be one step of ahead of the demands that sustain a community and allow it to thrive. We need to be continuously diligent and stay current of emerging resources to remain not only relevant, but ahead of the curve to best support our community and its residents. My primary motivation in running for the library board stems from a deep passion for the library and recognition of the importance of the board and its role in determining the direction of the library and the subsequent impact on the community.
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 Arlington Heights Memorial Library worked creatively to safely serve its constituents during the pandemic and below are just a few examples. During the warmer months, the library put take-home kits on a clothesline outside the library, which our family members anticipated with excitement. Beginning in late November, Tech Stop was created in the downstairs vestibule, and offered copying, printing, faxing, scanning and laptop checkout services. Additionally, the library worked to connect with younger kids who might have been feeling more isolated during this challenging time and created the Birthday Greetings and Winter Cheer Dispatch, in which Youth Services staff gave out handwritten birthday wishes to kids in kindergarten through second grade. Throughout it all, the library has continued running Bookmobile services and quality virtual programming, the latter of which has garnered an increase in attendance during the pandemic.
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, the library has seen a significant shift in the use of online materials as detailed in the Executive Director's Report. Especially in response to the pandemic in 2020, the library has been working to expand and promote online collections such as e-books and e-audiobooks, streaming services such as hoopla and Kanopy, as well as other e-Resources including newspapers, magazines, and journals. In looking ahead to 2021, the library has already been proactive in planning and has increased the budget for online materials and digital services, as reflected in the AHML 2021 Approved Budget.
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 a non-incumbent, I believe I could bring a unique perspective to the Board. As a mother of three school-aged children, we are experiencing life and library usage in a way that differs from current Board members. Additionally, I am pursuing a master's degree in social work, and bring an awareness of diverse populations and knowledge of mental health needs and resources, which I see as necessary for a library, especially during and after the pandemic. My degree concentration is macro-level social work, which is a broad-spectrum practice such as planning, program development, community development, and program evaluation. I will represent every member of our community, to ensure equal access to resources of the library and be accountable to our residents to uphold the integrity and gold standard that is the Arlington Heights Memorial Library.
Q. Do you have a library card? How long have you had it? How often do you use it?
A. I have had a library card since 2009, the year we moved to Arlington Heights, and use it frequently.
Q. What other issues need to be addressed?
A. Libraries are on the front lines of providing facts, resources, and information. Libraries offer opportunities for community members to grow as individuals, as families, and as a community. The AHML has effectively positioned itself as a leader in diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives in Arlington Heights, and I look forward being a part of growing these initiatives. Additionally, the Makerspace is an exciting addition to the town, offering opportunities for entrepreneurs, hobbyists, students, and anyone interested in learning or honing a new skill. It is perfect timing, as many people have experienced job loss due to the pandemic and are turning to entrepreneurial ventures as a result. Lastly, the pandemic has taken an enormous toll on our society, the extent yet to be seen. I am especially aware of our older adults, who may have become invisible throughout this crisis. While the library addresses many needs of this population, I would like to see more community collaboration, such as intergenerational events and activities, and the library could help lead this effort. Considering the economic toll on community resources because of the pandemic, I see significant opportunity for the library to further expand collaborations with the Village and other agency partners.