Denise Tenyer: 2021 candidate for Barrington Area Library Board
Four candidates for two 6-year terms
Occupation: Illinois state certified educator with experience teaching children ages 2 through 12
Employer: Owner, educator, and founder of Learning Trek Academy, a Barrington-based reading readiness/early literacy enrichment program serving children ages 3 and older
Civic involvement: Lifelong volunteer starting with Candy Striping at age 13, later a hospice volunteer and domestic violence hotline worker; church volunteer; board of local chapter of National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), the Golden Corrider Association for the Education of Young Children (GoAEYC); Barrington Junior Women's Club (BJWC) executive board; Barrington Fourth of July Parade planning committee, creating the essay contest and the food drive initiatives.
Q. Why are you running for the library board? Is there a particular issue that motivates you, and if so, what is it?
A. I'm running for reelection for the library board because I want to continue my commitment to our community. Having seen firsthand the functioning of the library, I am more motivated than ever to continue my service. The programs the library and its staff provide our community are invaluable. As an educator of young children, I have always recognized the importance of the library. The library is a magical place for young children to discover the joy of reading. As a teacher I always encourage my students to utilize the resources that our wonderful library offers.
Moving forward, I am motivated to explore new opportunities to foster and extend the library's goodwill through seeking out partnerships/relationships in our community.
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.
It has been the primary goal of our Board to ensure that our library can continue to serve our constituents during the disruption caused by the COVID 19 pandemic.
The library has adjusted normal operations by creating alternative options for patrons to access services such as curbside pick up, home delivery of books and materials, and full access to librarians and technical support over the phone.
When allowed, they have also offered inside browse-and-go options. All these responses during this unprecedented situation have been accomplished while ensuring the safety and protection of both staff and patrons.
Q. Has your library seen a significant shift in the use of online materials? Has it adequately bolstered and promoted its online collection?
In this moment, where so much of communication and education is happening online, our library has seen the use of our online materials shift. With an increased demand for online access, the library is not only working to provide more online resources but to also educate patrons on the varied services available to them. The library has promoted services like audiobooks, movies, magazines, music, newspapers, and e-books that can all be accessed and enjoyed without our patrons having to leave their homes.
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. As an incumbent I feel there have been many contributions made in the past six years. I am most proud of our Board and our library's response to the disruptions caused by the pandemic. Having to stay at home, and lessen social activities, has caused so many to feel isolated. We made it a priority to reach out to our patrons and make them aware of our services that they can utilize while remaining safe at home.
I was a member of the Board during the hiring of our executive director Jesse Henning three years ago.
In 2019 I played a critical role in preventing the village purchase of a substantial portion of our Library property, being one of 4 votes to end discussions with the village of a potential sale.
As an educator I bring a focus on the early childhood library community and their needs so I can better address our resources and programming in that area.
I have held positions as Board member at large, Secretary, and am currently the Treasurer and serve on the Policy Committee.
Q. Do you have a library card? How long have you had it? How often do you use it?
A. Of course! I don't want to date myself, but I can remember being a little girl going to the library and feeling so grown-up when I had to sign my name for my very first library card!
Having a library card is like a lifeline. I utilize my card all the time, especially during this pandemic. I have found the ability to access materials on my iPad and computer to be invaluable. From the safety and convenience of my living room I can access movies, magazines, periodicals, music, databases, books, all thanks to my library card and my local library.
Q. What other issues need to be addressed?
A. I want to continue to ensure that our library remains a vital, and integral part of our community, one that partners with our community to address the needs of our patrons. I want it to continue to be a community meeting place where everyone feels welcome, seen, and heard.