Kelsey Cole-Burns: 2023 candidate for Fremont Public Library Board


Town: Mundelein

Age on Election Day: 35

Occupation: Youth Services Librarian

Employer: Vernon Area Public Library District

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: I am thrilled to be running for Fremont Library Board so that I can give back to my community and to my library that has been a great source of joy, entertainment, and enrichment for myself and my family for more than ten years. As a mother of 3 children under the age of 7, I know the value of a freely accessible and collective resource as cost-of-living expenses rise. I also know the importance of a balanced-budget and overseeing proper spending. A well-read citizenship is crucial in our democracy because books open doors and windows into other lives, increasing our ability to empathize and live alongside each other. Equally important are books that provide mirrors for people, especially children, that may not see themselves in mainstream culture. Finally, I see the amazing things that Fremont Library gives to its community and it would be an honor to continue that strong legacy and to support the dedicated and creative staff of Fremont 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: I look forward to learning more about the particular experience of Fremont's community with e-materials. My experience as a youth librarian for eleven years has seen the library world consistently work together to provide a wealth of e-resources for a new population of readers both old and young alike. My own use of Fremont's e-resources, from audiobooks to music to online research, has always been met with satisfaction. However, these resources can be costly so I understand the limits of their potential.

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: Public libraries continue to evolve their physical spaces to meet the demands of the community including maker spaces, outdoor integration, green technology, teen zones, and educational play areas for children. Fremont Library is currently in a very exciting stage as they expand into their "Shell Space." As a trustee, I would continue to support Fremont's stellar space and services for children and families and ensure that Fremont remains a home-away-from-home through their educational programs, diverse books, and "destination" play area. As our community continues to grow and diversify, the library can provide cultural enrichment programs that foster understanding and connection. Finally, as budgets continue to look tight, we should reach across to our neighboring libraries to partner on larger cultural programs and author visits.

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 look forward to working alongside my fellow trustees and with library management to make sound decisions that benefit a happy workplace and a satisfied community.

Q: Do you have a library card? How long have you had it? How often do you use it?

A: I have one key fob on my car keys and it's my trusty library card! I have had my Fremont library card since 2012. I visit the library with my baby, toddler, and (sometimes) 1st grader once a week for story times and play. We always leave with 10 - maybe 11 - wait 12!--picture books, some puzzles, an occasional STEAM kit, and a visit to the girl statue reading her book. I'll use my library card at home to check out an e-book that I will proceed to renew 3 times while only getting through 100 pages in 3 months.

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: As a trustee, I intend to be an attentive, curious learner of the expertise and experience of the Fremont Library staff and fellow trustees while also offering a critical lens when necessary for the proper stewardship of tax dollars.

Q: What makes you the best candidate for the job?

A: As a mother of littles during the pandemic, I know those feelings of isolation. But I also know the power of the library as a place of connection and relief. With my dedication, knowledge, and personal investment in the success of our incredible library I hope to keep Fremont Library as the heart of this community, linking our lives through information, enrichment, and joy to be among those in our village.

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