Violet Jaffe: 2021 candidate for Arlington Heights Library Trustee
Three candidates for one 2-year term
Hometown: Arlington Heights
Employer: Palatine Public Library District
Civic involvement: Member of American Library Association, Public Library Association, the Collection Development Networking Group, and World Languages Networking Group. I serve on the CCS library consortium Advisory Board for Database Management and I serve on the Wellness Committee at Palatine Library.
Q. Why are you running for the library board? Is there a particular issue that motivates you, and if so, what is it?
A. I fondly remember hanging out at AHML when I was a student at Rolling Meadows High School. We spent many hours at the library when our son was young and I worked for AHML in various roles for over 12 years. I love this town and I love this library. In September, I left AHML to take the position of Collection Services Manager at Palatine Library. Around that same time, the vacancy of the 2-year seat on the AHML board was announced. I was thrilled at the idea of serving my home library in an entirely new capacity. AHML has long been a leader in public libraries, but I have seen the staff lose some of its enthusiasm and sense of community over the years. I would love the opportunity to reignite the passion of the staff to serve the community in new and innovative ways. I want to help AHML to find more ways to reach out to the community and define measurable initiatives to demonstrate a dedication to the core library values of equity, diversity and inclusion. Mostly, I want to do anything I can to help keep our library at the heart of Arlington Heights.
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. I was very proud of the way AHML seamlessly continued to serve the community during the closure and during the rest of the pandemic. Swiftly shifting focus on e-resources, offering fun, creative and enriching virtual programming and supporting the amazing staff during such a stressful time kept our library relevant and kept the community informed and entertained. I enjoyed participating in a music themed virtual program with my husband. It gave us a sense of comfort, connection and relief in the bleakest time of 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. As the pandemic started, I was the Collection Supervisor at AHML. My staff and I worked diligently to focus on making sure e-materials were as accessible as possible. We increased the limits on checkouts for hoopla and Kanopy and we purchased more copies of popular materials for cloudLibrary to reduce wait-times for holds. We created shelves in cloudLibrary and hoopla to promote self-care titles, schooling from home materials, and anti-racism titles. We had wonderful support from the other library departments to help promote and share these materials and to tie them in to programming.
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. I earned a Master of Library and Information Sciences degree and I have 12 years of experience in public libraries. I volunteered for several years in the library of Westgate School and I was an intern at the Burnham and Ryerson Libraries of the Art Institute of Chicago. I have been involved in many library committees and groups throughout the Chicago area for many years. I've long been a member of ALA and PLA and I have presented three times are the Illinois Library Association Conferences. I understand public libraries in a very fundamental way. I have attended many of our board meetings and those at Palatine Library, so I have a sense of the mission and process of a library board that others would not. My familiarity with the core values of the American Library Association as well as my role in serving on the team that created AHML's current culture statement affords me a unique perspective.
As the Youth Selector for AHML, I created the STEM kits and Science Kits collections. I led book discussions, taught classes and presented programs. I was the project lead for the Studio pilot program. And, I had the great honor of painting one of the pianos for the Piano Project when Lisa Genova's Every Note Played was our One Book One Village title. But of all of those achievements, the moments that stick with me most are the connections to our customers when making book suggestions, discussing music, or helping kids find that perfect book. Libraries do so much for the community. I am proud to have been a part of the AHML team for so long, and I would consider it a privilege to continue to serve as a trustee.
Q. Do you have a library card? How long have you had it? How often do you use it?
A. I got a library card the first week I moved here in 1991. I moved to California in 1995, but returned to Arlington Heights in 2002 and I have had my current library card since then. I visit the library just about every week and I check out e-books and e-audiobooks often. My husband and I watch British mysteries on hoopla through our library accounts almost every night.
Q. What other issues need to be addressed?
A. I want to make sure our staff know they are valued and supported in their creativity. And most of all, I want to make sure that our library continues to serve all the people of Arlington Heights with the most useful, fun and educational materials and programs possible.