Lindsay Taylor: 2021 candidate for Algonquin Area Public Library trustee
Four candidates are running for two, 6-year terms on the Algonquin Area Public Library District board in the April 6, 2021, election. The candidates are: incumbent Lindsay Taylor; and newcomers Andrew Fekete, Ariel Flores, and Tracy Sharkey. Flores did not respond to the questionnaire.
The Daily Herald asked candidates to respond to a questionnaire about library issues. Some of their responses are below.
In-person early voting at locations throughout the county begins March 22. Learn more at www.kanecountyclerk.org/Elections.
Occupation: Associate general counsel, Weber-Stephen Products LLC
Civic involvement: I am a current library board trustee, as well as a regular voter, and have phone banked/knocked on doors for chosen candidates in the past.
Q: Why are you running for the library board, whether for re-election or election the first time? Is there a particular issue that motivates you, and if so, what is it?
A: I am running for election to the board of trustees, having previously been appointed to fill a vacancy on the board to complete the current term. I am running to maintain my position as a trustee because libraries are essential to strong communities, both by providing essential community services and resources (such as voting/voter registration and technology services), and by encouraging members of the community to gather socially by engaging common, popular interests. As a trustee I am able to best help ensure that these goals are maintained. More and more libraries are becoming the information and gathering center of the community. AAPLD embraces this role and I support its continued growth and development in this way for all constituents of the library district.
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 Algonquin Area Public Library District worked hard to ensure that its constituents were able to take advantage of the library's offerings during the pandemic to the greatest extent possible, particularly by deftly expanding its online offerings and pick up/to-go offerings. One example of the successes in this regard were the continued maker space activities, one of the most popular features of the AAPLD. During the pandemic the staff has been able to successfully continue offering maker space crafts on a take-home basis. This option has been popular with the community (as evidenced by the regular waiting list for the activities shortly after they become available) during a time when so many were at home, but still provided for an ongoing connection with the library.
Q: Has your library seen a significant shift in the use of online materials? Has it adequately bolstered and promoted its online collection?
A: AAPLD has a robust virtual library of online materials, including research tools, periodicals and newspapers, audio books, music and movies. Certainly these offerings have come to be expected by libraries, and will continue to be. I believe that AAPLD puts sufficient and appropriate emphasis on these materials, while also ensuring its other offerings are easily accessible online, such as the library catalog, the ability to request physical materials for pickup, and maintaining a detailed and up to date website. In addition, the availability of online programming have grown considerably, in no small part due to the COVID pandemic, and AAPLD has met this challenge with flexibility and creativity. Finally, the library district emphasizes not only an expanded compliment of online offerings, but also ongoing access to technology in general (for instance, through the ability to check out WiFi hotspots, and the offering of technology classes and other assistance). Not only has AAPLD adapted to an expanded use of online materials, but has also adjusted other offerings to ensure that the technology needs of constituents are met overall.
Q: In light of our experiences with COVID-19, what safeguards/guidelines should you put in place to address any future public health crises?
A: AAPLD adapted quickly to the COVID-19 pandemic, and some of the changes made should be available for future public health crises, or even during the average flu season. The library district should certainly continue its process for drive through pick-up of reserved materials. This not only reduces the number of people in the library building when needed, but is convenient for constituents with busy schedules. Hand sanitizing stations should be maintained on an ongoing basis as a best practice as well. Finally, preparing crafts and other activities on a to-go or online basis should be maintained if possible. It allows for as many people to participate as possible from different locations, and provides for flexibility in the event of a future public health crisis.
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 have been a trustee since August of 2020. In that short time, I have been a member of the facilities committee, which addresses the needs of both the main branch and Eastgate branch of the library with regards to maintenance and development. I also participated in the 2020-2021 levy process and review and approval of updated library policies. I hope to deepen my contributions to the board if I am elected as we continue to address COVID's impact on the library district and constituents, ensure a responsible but impactful budget and levy process and ensure the needs of all library district constituents are met, whether they reside along the Randall Road corridor or on the east side of Algonquin.
Q: Do you have a library card? How long have you had it? How often do you use it?
A: I do have a library card. When my family moved to Algonquin in 2017 it was one of our first orders of business to ensure we requested library cards in our new town (though I have customarily maintained a library card since childhood in any town I have lived in). I use my library card to reserve books for pickup (especially books to read to my son), as well as to reserve books for myself and to check out movies.