Stacey Kelly: 2023 candidate for Arlington Heights Memorial Library Board
Town: Arlington Heights
Age on Election Day: 55
Occupation: Manager, Non-Profit Trade Association
Employer: Chicagoland Associated General Contractors
Previous offices held: Bicycle Advisory Commission, Arlington Heights
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: Libraries have always been my favorite places, and I am extremely fortunate to reside in a town with an exceptional library. It would be an immense privilege to serve as an advocate for AHML and assist in continuing to steer the critical mission of providing equitable and ready access to our community. I believe strongly in giving back and have volunteered in multiple capacities throughout my life; with my children grown I can now segue from their school-, church-, and extra-curricular-specific volunteer opportunities to larger community-encompassing endeavors. Running for Arlington Heights Memorial Library Trustee gives me that opportunity to contribute my time and skills to something near and dear to me, especially given the alarming rise in censorship affecting libraries and schools across the country.
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 was very impressed how quickly AHML adapted to the pandemic and adjusted its programming and delivery methods to continue providing necessary services to our community. The redesigned website effectively aligns with more mobile devices, and superior online learning databases are available to cardholders. I encourage residents to check out the website that enables one to enjoy easy access to our library's extensive resources in the comfort of one's home.
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 think we take it for granted how libraries have been one of the most evolving institutions throughout time. Not to dive into a history lesson, but libraries have routinely experienced radical change, and continually adapt and develop to meet a current given landscape. AHML has a very talented staff that proactively examines advancements in the electronic age and implements programs and policies to not only remain relevant but continue to flourish as an indispensable component of the community. For example, a few current enhancements include a small-business performance database, new computer upgrades for public use, and continued additions to the Makerplace catalog of activities. The online interlibrary loan system is outstanding.
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 am very excited for the opportunity to assist in guiding the priorities of AHML based on the new Strategic Plan that is expected to be finalized this spring. This year is a perfect time to get involved on the Library Board for just that purpose -- to be at the onset of the Plan's yearslong implementation to help achieve its objectives that were created through important input from the community.
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 elementary school, and received my Arlington Heights card when my husband and I bought our first home here in 1994. I use it regularly to check out books via the AHML website for Drive-Up Window pickup as well as through the interlibrary system. I am a proud card-carrying member!
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 like to absorb all perspectives of an issue and gather factual data as well as understand any emotional elements that may factor into an issue. I strive to convey my own perspectives and explain my reasoning behind them but ultimately my goal is to garner consensus. I have decades of experience supporting Boards and their vision from an administrative side, so I fully appreciate the worthwhile work staff put into their jobs and look forward to collaborating with AHML staff in this new Board role.
Q: What makes you the best candidate for the job?
A: I am at heart a library nerd who is passionate about fairness, open-mindedness, inclusivity, and equity. I believe I possess the skills and background that correlate to being a positive contributor to the ongoing success and evolution of the Arlington Heights Memorial Library.