Margaret "Peggy" Bucaro: 2021 candidate for Bartlett Library Trustee
Three candidates are running for two, six-year terms on the Bartlett Public Library board of trustees.
Civic involvement: Bartlett Public Library District Board Member, Vice President; Senior Citizens' Services Committee Board Member, Hanover Township; Fourth of July Committee member; Volunteer, Hanover Township Senior Center
Q. Why are you running for this office? Is there a particular issue that motivates you, and if so, what is it?
A. I have always been a reader -- and enjoy so many types of books. Having lived in Bartlett since 1983 this seemed to be a time to give back to our community. A friend gave me the idea and encouraged me to pursue an open office. I was getting closer to retirement and didn't know what that was going to look like -- how do you fill the 40+ hours that were spent working? I wanted to stay active, kids were grown -- seemed like a good time to join the library family. I don't know if people realize what a resource the library is (in house or on line). If anything, the pandemic certainly taught us the value of the online resources---and what we miss when the library is not open.
Q. Did your library continue to adequately serve its constituents during the disruptions caused by the pandemic? If so, please cite an example of how it successfully adjusted to continue providing services. If not, please cite a specific example of what could have been done better.
A. I am so proud of our Library staff -- they stepped up and were very creative with virtual events, Facebook, social media and more. Several of the staff members researched ways to make the circulation desks safe with inexpensive additions as partitions. The main goal was "safety first" ... for staff members and our patrons. The shutdown happened very quickly -- I think 2-3 days' notice. For those staff members who could -- it was "work from home." There was a list of items that staff could handle at home -- reviewing ways to quarantine our materials when we would be open again; attending webinars to enhance their education; staff members were checking the emails and phone messages and responding as appropriate. Area students were going into remote learning -- a new phase for many families and our staff. There were so many unknowns but everyone stepped up and did what was necessary to provide what services we could to our patrons. Again, we had no idea how long this phase would be in place. We were able to open at the end of June -- which was earlier than anticipated but felt we could do this in a safe environment and safety protocols in place. Our Director was in communication with the Board as things progressed. Our meetings were, of course, Zoom meetings -- and continue at this time. We were able to open (and remain open) while many area libraries stayed closed (or opened and then closed again). Our Director was also in communication with the various other groups in our community- Village Hall, Park District, Fire and Police Departments to determine when/what/how things would reopen safely. We did opt to shorten open hours due to staff schedules as well as reviewing the patron activity throughout the day.
Q. Has your library seen a significant shift in the use of online materials? Has it adequately bolstered and promoted its online collection?
A. There was a shift to online materials -- I did look back at the numbers and until we opened at the end of June the numbers were up -- they did decline as we headed into the summer (nonschool) months. That also was as we opened up and school was not in session. Currently our school district has been open (along with remote learning), then closed and then opened again (again with remote learning) -- but not all grades. After opening after being closed there was an issue with COVID-19 in the transportation department so it went back to remote learning again. Opening again in January with hybrid learning. As a reader, I prefer to hold a book -- love the feel and smell of the actual book -- but have adapted to my Fire -- enjoy Hoopla and Overdrive and the ease of downloading a book -- no matter the time or day of the week -- after hours etc.
Q. 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.
A. During our meetings as discussion/action items are reviewed -- I will always vote for the good of the library and our patrons -- whether in policies or financial decisions-I do not let a personal agenda hamper my decisions. I came on board in 2015 -- the interior renovation decisions were already in place and construction was to start. As things proceeded some mechanical issues had to be addressed that were outside the scope. This was not budgeted at that time. We were in a deficit position for several budgets -- through strategic budget cuts approved by the Board we were able to erase that deficit in the 2019-2020 budget year and start adding funds to the Special Reserve Fund for future use. I have attended (in person and virtually) the ILA conferences as well as educational webinars as offered to further my ability to be a better Trustee. In a constantly changing world, the Board reviews the Policies that are in place and makes changes as appropriate to avoid issues in the future. Recently due to my involvement at the Township, I was able to advise Director Nance of an opportunity for the Library to participate in a virtual event at the Township regarding International Women's Day. The Marketing Department reached out and added information about the benefits of our Library for the participants. The Board hired a company to do a mechanical analysis of HVAC in the building. With an aging building it is important to keep on top of potential issues that could impact the safety and environment in the building for staff and patrons. I voted that we allocate funds in the budget, and will continue to do so, based on the future needs in this area.
Q. Do you have a library card? How long have you had it? How often do you use it?
A. Yes I have a card. I would say I have had the card for at least 60 years! I use it several times a week -- whether in person or downloading from Hoopla or Overdrive.
Q. What other issues need to be addressed?
A. With the increased use of computers, social media and whatever the "next thing" will be, the Library has to keep abreast of these changes so that we can budget appropriately and be prepared for the future needs. We are working with NIU regarding a community survey and our Strategic Plan to cover the next three years. This information will be valuable in making sure that we are meeting the needs of our community going forward for years to come. The Board will need to be concerned how future budgets are impacted by the pandemic. We may see less tax dollars due to the aftermath of unemployment, businesses closing, slow economy and many unknown factors. We will have to be good stewards of the funds that are allocated to our Library District.