Tracy Suykerbuyk: 2023 candidate for Ela Area Public Library Board
Town: Lake Zurich
Age on Election Day: 47
Previous offices held: N/a
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?
A: I am running for the Ela Area Public Library Board because it is an opportunity to give back to our library that has meant so much to me and my family. I have been a patron of the library since we moved to the area 16 years ago. The library has been there for us in every stage of our family, from story times, to summer reading programs, and now participating in teen activities and utilizing the Forge. As a board member, I would be able to help shape the future of our local library, ensuring it continues to provide valuable resources to the community while continuing to be a good steward of public funds. I want to ensure that our library continues to have a diverse selection of books, films, and other media sources that represent different cultures, perspectives, identities and interests. I want to keep our library as a safe space that is conducive to creative exploration and collaboration.
Q: Has your library seen a significant shift in the use of online materials? Has it adequately bolstered and promoted its online collection?
A: Yes, our library has seen a significant shift in the use of online materials. Ela Area Public Library has invested with a consortium of local libraries in the online collections, making sure to offer a wide variety of digital materials for the patrons. Some of our digital resources include Hoopla, Libby, Scholastic Bookflix, Flipster, The Wall Street Journal, Freegal, and Canopy. Ela Library has worked to make sure that our patrons have easy access to the materials they need, regardless of how they prefer to access them. They have increased their promotion of these resources, both through the website, newsletter and through various social media channels.
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 an important role to play in the electronic age, as they provide access to information and resources to people who might not otherwise have access. Our library is a great bridge into the digital world, providing access to electronic resources such as ebooks, audiobooks, magazines, newspapers, music, movies, tv, research databases, and many other materials. Many of the programs that Ela library presents are available in person as well as on Zoom.
In order to continue meeting these roles, our library should think about how they can use technology to create new forms of outreach and engagement with the patrons and the community. Our library must be willing to invest in new technologies and provide training for the staff to ensure they have the necessary skills to support the patrons.
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 a non-incumbent, I would bring a fresh perspective to the library board, with a focus on collaboration, and innovation. I would strive to ensure that the library board is supporting the libraries initiatives and programs to meet the needs of all library patrons. Furthermore, I would advocate for the library board to increase its outreach to the public, so that more people are aware of all the library has to offer. I will also work to ensure that public funds are being responsibly utilized.
Q: Do you have a library card? How long have you had it? How often do you use it?
A: Yes! I have had it for 16 years. It was one of the first things I did when I moved to Lake Zurich. My family and I use our library cards weekly. I love going to the library to check out books and other materials. I am a big fan of the online resources that our library provides and utilize them daily. We also take advantage of many of the other resources that the library offers. Ela Library processed our passport applications and notarized documents for us. The meeting rooms are great to use when I have a small group that needs a quiet space to meet. I have participated in many of the programs that the library offers both in person and on Zoom. I have even made a pillowcase during a sewing class in the Forge.
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 worked on many boards and committees throughout my years as a consultant and volunteer that have shaped the policies and future of the organization. Within our community, I have served as the Treasurer for the Seth Paine Elementary and Lake Zurich Middle School North PTOs. I was instrumental in obtaining 501c3 status for both organizations. At Seth Paine I produced many of the musicals. I have also participated extensively in Cricket Theatre as a parent producer, costume team coordinator, and photographer. My style is to listen actively to all perspectives, ask questions to further understand the motivations of others, and to be open to compromise. I think it is important to be mindful of everyone's time, so that everyone can come to a conclusion in a timely and efficient manner. This will help ensure that the library board's actions and decisions are properly considered, and that the group is able to move forward in the most effective and efficient way possible.
Q: What makes you the best candidate for the job?
A: I have a passion for libraries and believe that they are essential to society and should remain a vibrant, diverse, and accessible resource for everyone. I believe that my passion for learning and literature, coupled with my experience in leadership and commitment to public service, make me an ideal candidate for the library board. I have a strong understanding of the importance of libraries and their role in providing educational resources, community gathering spaces, and a wealth of information. My background in finance and technology has given me the skills necessary to effectively utilize our funding while moving toward the future of our library. I am committed to working collaboratively with the library board and the community to ensure that the library is a safe, accessible, and welcoming space for all. I am confident that my experience and enthusiasm for libraries will be an asset to the board.