Vanessa Berry: 2023 candidate for Lisle Library District board
Age on Election Day: 38
Occupation: Office manager
Employer: Gear & Repair
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'm running for library board because the library is an important resource to the community and I'd like to help make sure it continues to meet the needs of Lisle residents. I grew up in an unincorporated part of Cook County, and we didn't have a library. I know first hand how beneficial the services they provide are. In addition to books and other media, the library is an important community space, providing a place for residents to work, connect, and just be.
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, I think all libraries have seen a shift to online materials in the past few years. Lisle Library District has been adding more digital materials, and I'd like to be a part of their marketing plan going forward. This is a great opportunity to reach residents who might not have the time or resources to physically come to the library, increasing accessibility and providing service to more residents.
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 are an important part of the community, and have a vital role to play. I like to think of the move to electronic media as an opportunity to reach more residents. The new renovations to Lisle Library have shown that this is something that has been planned for, creating new meeting spaces with technology for hybrid meetings, and upgraded Wi-Fi will provide residents a quiet place to work.
I think the next big step will be in marketing these services and resources to residents, so everyone knows what's available. In addition, with the way technology is always changing, it's important to always be looking at ways technology could benefit Lisle Library District residents, and implementing new policies as needed.
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'd like to have a hand in making policy to help Lisle Library reach more residents, through programming, materials, and services. We have an opportunity to strengthen the library, reach more residents with digital resources, and create more community spaces for residents to come together.
Q: Do you have a library card? How long have you had it? How often do you use it?
A: Yes, I got a library card when I moved to Lisle eight years ago. I use it frequently to check out books and use the online resources (I'm really excited about the new access to Creativebug!) As a family, we listen to a lot of audiobooks on the Hoopla app, and attend many of the library events and classes.
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'm an active volunteer in Citizens' Climate Lobby, lobbying congress for effective climate legislation. Through my role as a Senate liaison, I've seen first hand how important building consensus and making compromise are to a functioning government. It's important to find common ground and shared values with those who might have differing opinions, to develop policy and make decisions that are best for the community.
Q: What makes you the best candidate for the job?
A: I'm the best candidate for the job because of my broad range of experience and my dedication to Lisle. I'm an active volunteer in the community, volunteering in the Lisle Elementary School library, and at school events. I lead the Lisle Junior High Girl Scout troop, and am an active volunteer with Citizens' Climate Lobby.
Professionally, I'm the office manager for a small gear manufacturing business in Darien, and run my own photography studio out of my home. I'm also an artist, and have displayed my work at the Lisle Park District Gallery at Lisle Savings Bank. It might seem like a crazy resume, but it shows that I'm motivated, dedicated to the community, and good at working with others.