percy harris
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Candidates for the Homewood Library Board of Trustees

Five candidates are running for three six-year terms on the Homewood Public Library board: Adrienne River, Jacoba Ward, Percy Harris, Lorea Farley and Andrea Stilts. Harris is an incumbent. There are also two unexpired terms on the Homewood library board. Patricia Mosley Smith is the only candidate for the four-year term. There are no candidates for the two-year term.

  Percy Harris

Percy C. Harris
Education: Master Degree in Public Administration, Governors State University, 2008. Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice, Governors State University 1998
Occupation: Deputy Chief  – Cook County Public Health Department. Over 24 years of administrative and law enforcement experience.
Current employer: Cook County Department of Public Health
Incumbent: Yes

Most important issues: My name is Percy C. Harris and I have been a resident of the Village of Homewood for nine years. I have chosen to run for re-election to the  Homewood Public Library District Board of Trustees because I believe my experience as a board member for the past year, including active participation in the Illinois Library Association, Library
Trustee Forum Leadership as well as my experience in county government, will benefit the library.
     As library trustee, I will prioritize the governance of programs that implement policies to serve all the interests of the general public. For example, I think a traditional library can sustain alongside a digital library; offer current periodicals and newspapers; and maintain historical town records and documents. I truly have the library’s best interests at heart and appreciate the opportunity to do my part to make it the best it can be.

Goals: My goal is to be a strong advocate of the library, of books and of their continued importance in our vast technological world.

Jacoba Ward
Education: Bachelors in Political Science from University of Amsterdam 1976
Occupation: Retired, Homewood School District 153 Media Center Assistant James Hart 2000-2014. Homewood Library 1998-2000
Current employer: none
Incumbent: no
Other elected positions: Former president of Homewood Education Association (School District Employee Union), Current Irons Oaks Foundation Board Member

Most important issues: Maintaining excellent services and programs while dealing with financial challenges caused by reduced local and state funding.  Improving the work environment for current and future employees. Keeping current operating hours

Goals: Continue to incorporate current and future technologies in library operations.  Continue to offer and expand programs and services for Homewood Library patrons. Offering student and adult tutorial programs.
     My family and I have used and enjoyed the Homewood Library for the past 36 years.  I would like to serve on the Board to assure that current and future generations of Homewood residents will have the same positive experiences.

  Lorea Farley

Lorea Farley
Education: B.A. in Elementary Education and English National College of Education-Evanston, IL (1972), Masters Degree in Early Childhood Education, Leadership and Advocacy-National Louis University-Chicago, IL  (1997).
Occupation: Starting in 1972 I was employed by CPS (Chicago Public Schools) as an Elementary School Teacher. In high school and college I worked in the schools’ libraries.
Current employer: I retired in 2011.
Incumbent: No.

Most important issues: The most important issues I expect to address are listed specifically on the website. This website is an initiative of the American Library Association and states,  “…the library board of trustees has a role in determining the mission of the library, setting the policy that governs the library, hiring and evaluating a library director, and overseeing the general management of the library.”
      These are all very important issues. My contribution as a member of the Homewood Library Board of Trustees will be to advocate for what is best for the library, as well as the community and the people it serves.

Goals: I have always loved books and been a regular patron of the library. My own children “grew up” in libraries and now the librarians know my grandsons! Being a parent, and having served as an educator, I’ve observed first hand the very positive and necessary role that libraries have played — and continue to play — in the lives of children and adults.
      There is no substitute (even in this digital era) for the free or inexpensive access to diverse, comprehensive resources, and the welcoming environment that libraries provide.  As the library continues to adapt to the needs of our community, my goal is to promote and support this evolution in ways that are beneficial to our community. Having worked well with others on many teams and committees throughout the years,  I believe I can make a serious contribution to my community as a member of Homewood’s Library Trustee Board.

  Adrienne River

Adrienne N. River
Education: B.A., Carleton College, 1981, J.D., Northwestern University, 1984
Occupation: I am an appellate attorney employed by the State of Illinois.  I have worked for 14 years in Chicago for the agency that is appointed to represent indigent criminal defendants on appeal.  Previously, I was a judicial law clerk (an attorney) for a state appellate-court judge
Current employer: Office of the State Appellate Defender
Incumbent: No
Other elected positions: Trustee, Village of Park Forest, early 1990’s

Most important issues: I have attended board meetings over the last several months to learn about the library’s operations and the role of the trustees.  While there are many important issues that need to be addressed, prominent among them is how to plan and implement a realistic budget.  These tasks have been made increasingly difficult because property-tax revenues have decreased ten percent over the past five years. Therefore, it is even more important now to monitor expenses and revenues, make responsible cuts in expenses, and
maintain adequate cash reserves. 
     We should also try to operate more efficiently while maintaining a high level of service.  A recent example of accomplishing both was the combining of the library/web and youth-services departments into one department.  Also, staffing a call center has made more efficient use of staff time while giving patrons faster service.  Another good example of service improvement was providing patrons with 24-hour phone access to library accounts, including the ability to renew items.
     Other important, ongoing issues are the recruitment and retention of
qualified staff; the tracking of levels of use and determining what materials, services, and programs patrons desire; and working on long-term plans.

Goals: Financial goals:  A switch to only an emailed newsletter could save several thousand dollars annually in printing and postage costs.  Ways to increase cash donations should be considered.
     Service goals: The percentage of money spent on books should return to the 12 percent recommended level (recently was only at 7 percent).  Some programs should foster
community interaction, including intergenerational programs, such as seniors reading to children.  Increased outreach to persons who are unable to come to the library should be considered, such as bringing bookmobiles to nursing-home residents.
     Facility goals:  We should make the library space more welcoming for everyone.  Readers would like quiet areas and additional comfortable seating.  We should explore changing the location of collections, such as possibly moving the magazines back downstairs.  Signage inside the library should be improved and a library map displayed.  We should continue to
implement “green” practices.
     Personal goal: I would continue to educate myself on library management and finance.

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