There are three four-year seats at stake on the Flossmoor Public Library board. Candidates are Kimberly Mitchell, Nancy Disabato, Leslie Kimmons, Jane Harper, Dominique Bordelon-Bristol and Natasha Bergeron. Disabato, Harper and Bergeron are incumbents.
One unexpired two-year seat is also on the ballot for the Flossmoor library board. Derrick Hayes is the only candidate.
Education: B.A. English, Miami University, Ohio, 1978; M.S. Library and Information Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2001; M.A. Reading, Governors State University, 2013
Occupation: School librarian
Current employer: Homewood-Flossmoor High School, since 2006
Incumbent: Yes. I just completed my fifth year as a trustee at the Flossmoor Public Library
Other elected positions: No
Most important issues: Our former director recently accepted a position at a much larger library — a great career move for her, and she is missed! The most important job for the board right now is to find a new director, then to work with him or her for a positive transition into new leadership for the staff and the community.
It is important that the library remain a vibrant and valued community asset in Flossmoor. We need to make sure we are providing the facilities, technology, materials, programs and resources that the community wants and needs.
We need to maintain our building and grounds so that every citizen in Flossmoor can look to the library with pride and use it safely and comfortably. This can be challenging to do in an era of uncertain tax revenues and rising expenses.
Goals: Assist our new director, be on the lookout for new ways to better serve our patrons, and become an even stronger center for lifelong learning for our youth and adult patrons.
Education: B.A. psychology, Spelman College, 2003; J.D. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2006
Current employer: Law office of Gregory T. Mitchell, P.C.
Most important issues: Our young students tend to have a great deal of energy after a long day of school, and seemingly this energy may not be appropriate for the library. The noise and gatherings can be distracting and frustrating to staff and other students who are trying to study. Nonetheless, our library seeks to accommodate patrons of all ages and we are fortunate to have this space so close to our schools.
As a community we should work together to ensure that the library is achieving its goal as a beacon of learning in our town. Communication between the youth, their parents, school administrators, library staff, and library trustees is key in developing a strategy to improve how time is spent at the library after school. Among the aforementioned, the voice of the youth is important, and we could benefit from hearing what their needs and concerns are regarding the library. Perhaps a youth advisory committee or focus group would encourage students to get involved with the library while gaining a sense of responsibility and accomplishment. At the same time, communicating explicitly defined expectations and rules to students is imperative in order to preserve the values that make Flossmoor an exemplary community.
Goals: While the education of our children is a high priority for Flossmoor parents, education extends far beyond the parameters of our schools. Our library also serves the role as a center for learning, research, culture, and community. If elected library trustee, I would like to explore this cultural component and ways our library can offer more dynamic cultural programming. As a person with a diverse background who has an affinity for all cultures, I could bring a fresh perspective to the library board. Some examples include making Chinese lanterns to celebrate Chinese New Year, showcasing Mexican history for Cinco de Mayo, and offering a robust educational Black History Month program.
Additionally, my children’s favorite library programs have been the collaboration of individual leadership efforts and library resources. I deeply appreciate the individual community members who stepped up to lead such great programs, and I would further encourage similar initiatives at the library. As trustee I would work with the community to develop innovative ideas and continue to foster the growth of library programming by tapping into our local resources.
Education: B.A. English, University of Illinois-Chicago; M.B.A. National-Louis University
Occupation: Financial planner
Current employer: The Planning Cottage
Most important issues: The most important issues that I want to address in the position of the Flossmoor Public Library Trustee are the lack of resources for the youth that come to the library after school and the Library’s ability to serve as a platform for improving student learning and increasing test scores.
Goals: Bring out the leaders within them: I propose that we set up a junior advisory trustee board to get student input for our library’s programming, thereby putting students in leadership positions, engaging in human-centered design, and creating a culture where ALL stakeholders have a voice.
Promote education: We need to partner with the local community college and universities, encouraging students in the field of education to provide tutoring serves to our youth, and inspire other college students to bring various skilled workshops such as 3D printing, culinary, etc. to the students. Our community leaders, educators and/or business owners will host ACT/SAT prep courses, after-school enrichment programs, writers’ workshops, engineering challenges, robotics courses, innovators/entrepreneurs labs, etc. right at our library on a regular basis. We have a large lower level area with two conference rooms to support this activity.
Give them something else to do. We also need some fun days at the library where the students can have an enjoyable time on the library’s lower level, playing games such as “Library Pokemon Go,” having game night, book clubs, young authors’ days (where students can write books with other writers (novices and experts), eventually print and publish, and network with illustrators.
Nancy B. Disabato
Education: B.F.A./teaching degree, Ohio Wesleyan University, 1978
Occupation: retired financial firm operations manager
Incumbent: Yes. I was initially appointed as a Board Member to fill in a two-year term in 2007. I was then elected to two four-year terms in 2009 and 2013. I have served on the Board for 10 years.
Other elected positions: I was appointed to the Recycling Committee in Flossmoor that instituted the first recycling program in the Village. I was also appointed to the Flossmoor Art Commission in 2002. I served on that committee for 9 years. I was elected PTO President for SD 161 for three years as well as running the Art Volunteer in the Classroom and Junior Great Books programs for many years after leaving my position as PTO President.
Most important issues: The Flossmoor Public Library is at the center of the rapid and complicated technological change that is affecting our lives. A community is often measured by the quality of its institutions, so the overriding responsibility of the Board is to make sure that the Library sets a strong standard in meeting the information needs of our community. Here are some of the key issues that need consideration in the next year:
We predict that the growth in tax revenue is limited; therefore the Trustees need to be strong stewards of Library finances, meeting the expanding needs of the community while working with the Library Director and the Staff.
This effort begins with the Trustees’ selection of a new Library Director. We initiated the important process at the end of 2016, by establishing criteria for the search and beginning the detailed review of potential candidates. The selection of the new Director will be one of the most
important decisions in the first quarter of 2017.
Management of the Library facility will also be a key issue. The Library is straining to meet the requirements as an afterschool resource for working families. Unsupervised children have put a strain not only on the library’s staff, but also on its finances.
Finally the Library has an obligation to the community to remain at the forefront of industry best practices and the Trustees provide the most important oversight to make sure that goal is achieved.
Goals: As a Trustee serving our community and the Flossmoor Library for the last 10 years, I have established the following key goals for the new term.
I have played a key role in establishing the selection criteria for the new Library Director, and I expect to be an important voice in guiding the Board in the selection of the new Director in early 2017.
I will continue to push the Board to refine the financial oversight of the Library. Our community expects the Trustees to be diligent in the oversight of tax dollars, and this management oversight applies not only to ongoing expenses, but also new programs and capital expenditures. It is important for each Trustee to fully participate in the financial and management review of the Library at each meeting.
I will remain a key resource in ensuring that the needs of the Flossmoor community are incorporated into the strategic and operating goals of the Library, at the same time working with the staff to make sure those goals are met.
In the second half of 2017, I will work with the new Director to establish guidelines and policies that will improve the afterschool experience for both students and Staff.
Finally, I will be an advocate for the Library to ensure that it will remain a gem in our community, by hiring qualified and welcoming staff, establishing appropriate funding for books and technology, and maintaining a facility that is state of the art.
Education: M.A. integrated marketing communications, Emerson College, Boston, 2001; B.A. psychology/Spanish minor, Indiana University, 1998.
Occupation: Independent consultant.
Current employer: Cabi
Incumbent: Yes, appointed in 2016
Most important issues/goals: To continue in my current role as Library Trustee where I can lend my expertise and leadership to the board for the good of the library. This includes upholding policies and long-term goals for the library; overseeing the general operation of the library alongside the Library Director; initiating and overseeing the budget process; and being an advocate for the library in the community.
Education: Ph.D. Howard University, 2000; M.A. Ohio State University, 1995; B.A. University of Maryland at College Park, 1994.
Occupation: Sociology professor.
Current employer: Chicago State University.
Most important issues: The current issues I would be most effective addressing as a library Trustee are as follows: Addressing the challenges of unattended children in the library during after-school hours; the need to develop direct relationships between the library and the local schools; and the support of the diverse needs of the growing group of older adults and elders.
As library Trustee, I would address the needs for middle-school youth services particularly during after-school hours when the library is often used as a safe-haven. As an important demographic of the Flossmoor community, middle-school students have different needs from their elementary and high school counterparts, and should have the support of the public library. Additionally, advocating for the library to develop direct relationships with the local schools can provide a continuity of service and support to our youth. School and library relationships can create a streamline of positive and purposeful interaction between students, faculty, and staff. Lastly, addressing the needs of multi-generational group of older adults and elders in creating and maintaining desired resources for this diverse group.
Goals: As library Trustee key goals are to establish that all patrons have provisions of materials and access to services in an engaging environment.
As Trustee, I would be advocating for funding to be channeled to develop creative and supportive youth services such as: digital media studios, homework corners, mentoring programs, and additional youth supportive staff.
Ensuring the success of youth services can be accomplished by creating strong relationships with local schools through developing cooperative programs. Furthermore, advocating for the needs of a growing demographic of older adults and elders through offering resources including support and training with informational technologies and social media, computer education, and volunteering and youth mentorship programs.
Education: B.S. finance; M.B.A information systems
Occupation: Financial analyst
Most important issues: With today’s internet and technology boom, I feel we could improve on the library presence in terms of being a foundation for the community. I would like to work for Flossmoor to show that the library is more than just a place with books and computers. The library should be a community builder, that reflects Flossmoor’s population and champion causes of today’s youth. I will advocate and collaborate with Flossmoor district schools for after-school programs within such as tutoring and digital media.
Goals: Community outreach to improve membership. Collaborate with local business. Host events that provide community leadership.