Clare Fitzgerald: Candidate profile
Name: Clare Fitzgerald
Office sought: Geneva Public Library District Board Trustee
Family: Husband, Peter
Occupation: Public Affairs Contractor and Freelance Writer
Education: B.S., Journalism, University of Illinois
Civic involvement: Advisory Board Member, Mill Creek SSA
Previous elected offices held:
Incumbent? If yes, when were you first elected?
What are the most important issues facing your library district and how do you intend to address them?
Important issues will be guiding a smooth transition to the new library and ensuring taxpayers are receiving value from and frequently using the expanded services. The new library offers a tremendous opportunity to create a resource that better serves and engages the district. But the long-term value to the community goes beyond the new facility. With so much competing for people's attention today, the library needs to provide a vibrant, inspiring environment where patrons can easily access current books, information and technology, learn, and receive assistance from knowledgeable staff. The library also will need to continually evolve and adapt to changes in how people access and consume information, and it will need to provide programs and resources that reflect current issues, trends and conversations -- while maintaining its commitment to fiscal responsibility.
Why are you running for office? Is there a particular issue that motivates you? If so, what is it?
I'm running for this office as a way to serve and be involved in the community, and I would love to be able to contribute my skills to support and generate enthusiasm for the new library. I think the library needs to be intentional and deliberate about creating a welcoming, dynamic environment in the new building. Voters generously supported the referendum, and I think they will want to see expanded resources, better access to and visibility of a wide selection of books, and enhanced programming. I also think it's important for interested and qualified people to run for local offices.
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.
As a non-incumbent, I'd like to bring a fresh perspective to the board, and I'd like to contribute to improving the availability of a wider selection of books, enhancing library communications, and expanding programming and development. I'd like to see the library be more proactive in its communications and outreach to better inform the district about the resources and services it offers. I'd also like to help build the library's visibility and role in the community and develop more ambitious programming that appeals to a wider range of patrons. I have a professional background in communications and marketing and experience with budgets, committees, advocacy campaigns, and program development that I can apply to this role. Overall, I'd like to contribute to making the Geneva library a more vibrant library that is widely used and successfully serves the district.
Do you have a library card? How long have you had it? How often do you use it?
Yes. I've had my library card since becoming a Geneva resident nearly 5 years ago, and I visit the library several times a month. I've always been a frequent user of libraries, including when I was growing up in Schaumburg, going to school at U of I, and living and working in Chicago and Arlington Heights.
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 think libraries will continue to be relevant and valuable assets to communities, but they have to be committed to evolving, and in many cases, being creative and doing more with less. Inspiring people to read and offering quality access to publications for all ages will continue to be important. With rapidly changing technology, I think libraries will need to take on a more educational role and serve as a resource where people can access and learn how to use technology -- from basic to advanced. Libraries also will need to focus on how to provide an experience and offer resources that people can't get online or from their personal devices. Programming and events will need to take on a bigger role, and the display of books and what people experience when they come in will need to stay fresh. Libraries also will need to strike a balance between offering collaborative, multi-purpose spaces and quiet environments. Libraries can still provide a valuable physical space where people can think, learn, study, work, connect and reflect.