Allison Wilmes: 2023 candidate for Fremont Public Library Board
Age on Election Day: 61
Previous offices held: None
Q: Why are you running for the library board, whether for reelection or election the first time? Is there a particular issue that motivates you?
A: Now that I'm retired, I have more time to serve the community. I have worked in a library, presented programs at libraries, donated and supported the library, and am a constant user of libraries. I believe that libraries should be places where everyone can find themselves represented in the materials and can find information without fear. I want to make sure we are a community that allows diverse opinions.
Q: Has your library seen a significant shift in the use of online materials? Has it adequately bolstered and promoted its online collection?
A: Although books and other physical materials remain popular, more people are using online materials, especially since the beginning of the pandemic. The library has an extensive online collection and links to numerous resources for all ages. Many programs are available online. The library maintains a social media presence, and we need to make sure we are staying current with the platforms people are using. Although it is easy to find the online items in the catalog and on the library website, I believe more could be done to promote them through the newsletter and social media. Other forms of community outreach, such as school visits, can also help now that the pandemic is over.
Q: What do you see as the future of role of libraries in the electronic age? How well prepared is your library for meeting that role? What new steps must the library begin taking?
A: I believe there will continue to be a place and need for physical libraries even as they increase their online presence. We have seen that libraries can be safe places to meet and that they provide critical access to computers for those who do not have their own. In addition they are expanding to provide even more services such as loaning out craft, game and electronic equipment, providing instruction in 3-D printing, sewing, embossing, etc. through maker spaces, and becoming a critical community resource center. As more people move into our area, we will need to figure out how to provide some of these more expensive services and how to become a critical link in the community, not a stand-alone institution.
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 priorities for the board are to continue to find ways to expand services within the budgetary constraints of the library. We need to be prepared for the influx of new users with all the new residential development in the village and make sure the library stays current with technology.
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 I could sign my name. I've had my current card for 38 years. I average one library visit per week.
Q: Describe your experience working in a group setting to determine policy. What is your style in such a setting to reach agreement? Explain how you think that will be effective in producing effective actions and decisions of your library board.
A: I have served on the boards of Lake County Habitat for Humanity and the Chicago National Association of Professional Organizers. I like to hear what everyone thinks, especially those who may have more expertise in an area than I do or who represent a different demographic. I think it's important to have different opinions and then find consensus on priorities. Hopefully, that will allow the board to keep all constituencies in mind as they make decisions.
Q: What makes you the best candidate for the job?
A: I have the time, interest, and commitment to both the library and our community to serve in this capacity.