Sunday, March 3, 2013

Meet the Candidates: Patricia Johnson

Patricia Johnson
I believe that a Public Library has always been an important part of any community. Libraries granted me the opportunity not only to love books, but to appreciate art, music, and other important parts of our culture. To me, being a trustee on the Carol Stream Library Board would be like being a teacher of sorts. I want to try to watch over our revered facility. I want to help guard and maintain a building that houses not only the traditional tools, but also the new materials that enhance knowledge in our digital age.

Click here to view Patricia Johnson's campaign Facebook page

I want the library to be a building that inspires people of every age to partake in our many events that can enrich their lives. When we come together to listen to readings, discuss books, or appreciate the arts, we develop connections that foster positive relationships and strengthen our ties to the community.

Do you support the board's decision to put the library's Kuhn Road property on the market? Would you support a sale or lease of the property? Would you ever support construction of a new library in the village?
No, not at this time because the real estate market is still unstable and the asking price may not be realistic. Yes, I would support leasing the property through an intergovernmental agreement between the Carol Stream Library and the Park District or Village. Yes, Carol Stream is in need of a new library and currently the needs of the community are difficult to meet. We need a floor just for children and youth, between the ages 0-12 years, more classrooms, individual and group study rooms, larger adult book sections and room to accommodate the expansion of future technology. While this may not be feasible with the current budget and local economy, these needs should be kept in mind for the future of the village.

What specifically will you do to improve the working relationship among board members?
I will encourage everyone to understand that the role of a board member is to set and implement policy and to support the professional staff in their day to day management of library services. I will set an example by being respectful of board members' opinions, whether I agree or not and will demonstrate that I wish to serve the community rather than my own personal agenda.I will promote the ideal among board members that this is the community's library, not our personal library.

Why are you running for this office, whether for re-election or election the first time? Is there a particular issue that motivates you, and if so, what is it?

To be a voice for the library within my community and ensure that we have the resources it needs. For the Library to thrive and remain a valuable asset to the community in the 21st century someone must step up. And why not me, Patricia Johnson? As a candidate, I promise that when I am elected I will devote the appropriate time and effort to carry out the duties and responsibilities of library trustee. I want to reinforce and continue the long standing tradition of watching out for our library, ethically and with sound leadership. Our library was founded and governed over the past 50 years by devoted public servants who paved the way for the future and brought us the fine Library we now have. I am particularly interested in keeping the taxpayers that fund us informed and to make sure everyone in our community has free access to the wide variety of materials libraries have to offer. This includes providing public access to the most current technology available to assist school children with projects and help adults find jobs and careers. I will encourage the board to provide the library with the best and most affordable technological resources available.

Do you have a library card? How long have you had it? How often do you use it?
Yes 50 years, 20 years in Chicago and 30 years in Carol Stream. It is hard to quantify, but I have borrowed and returned all types items that are available. On many occasions I have used the computers and references books for research.

What impact have economic and technological changes had on libraries? How does a library remain relevant? How should its role in the community change?

I believe that the current economy has caused there to be a heavier demand on our public libraries. People are taking advantage of access to free movies, books and music. The computers are always in use as the cost of owning a home computer for many in our community is out of reach. The library continues to be a source of these materials in poor economic times and for those who are otherwise economically disadvantaged. A library must provide the public with programs that are relevant to everyday life. I will advocate always being aware of new technology and popular trends that will attract old and young alike. I'm aware that change is inevitable and necessary for the future and I will embrace all that the digital world has to offer. I believe it is essential for the board to provide continuing education opportunities for the staff so they can be informed on the most up to date developments in media and technology. I will encourage the board to support the staff in developing the best programs for the residents of Carol Stream. The Library board should continue to listen to the community members and encourage public participation at meetings. This way the board will know if needs are being met and can respond to community concerns. If the library continues to provide excellent service with current publications and access to up-to-date computers and databases, the community will be very well served. Personally, I would like to advocate for more educational programs for adults, like computer training.

Civic Involvement:

Food Pantry Liaison
Community Organizer/Activist
Board of Deacons
Wayne Township Democrats, Secretary
Friends of the Carol Stream Public Library
Long-time resident of Carol Stream

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