Candidate Questionnaire from March 4, 2017: Gail Borden Public Library District – Patricia Harkin

Categories: Elections,Questionnaire

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NAME: Patricia Harkin


Gail Borden Public Library District

1.  Why are you seeking this position?

The two most important responsibilities of a Library Board member, as I see them, are advocacy and oversight. On one hand, Board members need to make sure that taxpayer funds are carefully conserved and spent wisely. On the other hand, we need to advocate by explaining why we think the expenditures we do support are necessary and prudent. If elected, I’ll continue to ensure that voters understand the scope and value of the services the Library provides. We are not merely a repository for books: we also provide vital community services.

2.  What experience and background do you have which qualifies you for this position?

I hold a Ph.D. in English and have taught for more than 40 years in several universities, at times serving as liaison between my department and the university library. I’ve published extensively about reading and its teaching. As an Associate Dean at U of I Chicago, I’ve dealt with large budgets and complex administrative issues. I’ve also volunteered approximately 700 hours at Gail Borden in addition to time spent as a Board member. Thorugh that work, I’ve gained a thorough sense of library operations. That knowledge informs my decisions as a Board member.

3.  What will be your greatest challenge if elected?

My greatest challenge is to address what I see as the misconception that libraries are obsolete in a technological age. I need to persuade constituents of all ethnicities and ages that Gail Borden provides important services that are needed and worthy of support. We offer education (summer reading program, high school diploma program, computer classes, to name a few), concerts, tax advice, children’s activities. Soon we will also be a place where citizens can apply for passports quickly and efficiently.

Release for publication? YES

I will attend the forum? YES

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