Sharon A. Smogor: 2023 candidate for Fremont Public Library Board
Age on Election Day: 71
Occupation: Retired teacher, current substitute
Employer: Carmel Catholic High School
Previous offices held: Current Fremont Public Library board member
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: The Fremont Library is one of the most efficient and effective tax payer funded institutions in the community. I am passionate about working with the library as we continue to serve our community with a variety of resources, programs and services needed in contemporary society. The library should help all of our patrons become more responsible consumers and producers of information.
Q: Has your library seen a significant shift in the use of online materials? Has it adequately bolstered and promoted its online collection?
A: The library board and staff are constantly evaluating and updating both the print and online collections. Fremont Library has successfully adapted to the changing needs of our patrons during the pandemic. The Strategic Plan and remodeling project have expanded the number and variety of online and hybrid programs and resources, to make most of them accessible from home and remote locations. The website, social media and online newsletters have publicized the collections and programs.
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: Libraries have always been a market place of ideas. The library works with other libraries in the consortium and units of local government to assess changing situations and prepare for the future. The library has a well trained board and staff, strategic plan, realistic budget, accessibility, updated hardware and software, and a "Library of Things" many of which are electronic. The remodeling plan has re-imagined the use of space and furnishings to accommodate students, entrepreneurs and people working outside of traditional office space.
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 an incumbent I am on the Facilities and Policy Committees. I have worked on the budget, the Strategic Plan, the revision of the policy handbook, the IPLAR report to the state, met with the architects and approved bids for the remodel project, attended the Zoom meeting with legislators, and helped the board in the clean up days on Midlothian Rd. I hope to remain on the board to continue the unfinished business.
Q: Do you have a library card? How long have you had it? How often do you use it?
A: A library card is like a passport to the world. My mom took me to the local branch of the Chicago Public Library to get my card when I was about 5. Our family applied for library cards whenever we moved. I almost always have something checked out of the library. I often worked with the school librarians on classroom projects.
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 teacher I have years of experience working with diverse groups. I am comfortable being a committee member or chair. I have been a school board member and participated in strategic planning for 3 high schools. I worked with the Illinois Civic Mission Coalition and McCormick Foundation in programs for teaching current and controversial issues. I am a patient listener, can see many sides of issues, and work to build collaboration, consensus and compromise through civil discourse. These skills are necessary in the policymaking process.
Q: What makes you the best candidate for the job?
A: I have experience with public and school libraries as a student, teacher, board member and general patron. I worked with the Library of Congress when I did an internship at the Smithsonian in grad school. Libraries must evolve over time. The modern library has so much more than books. Our Fremont Library has something for everyone. I have the passion and vision to be a good steward of tax payer dollars as the library moves forward to serve our community.