Deborah Ader: 2021 candidate for Cook Memorial Library board

Updated 3/31/2021 8:44 PM

Four candidates for three seats.



Hometown: Libertyville

Age: 58

Occupation: Retired

Employer: Kraft Foods

Civic involvement: Election Judge, Colonial Park Community Association Board


Q: Why are you running for the library board, whether for re-election or election the first time? Is there a particular issue that motivates you, and if so, what is it?

A: I have watched and participated in the library's growth and prosperity over the past 14 years; the library is at the heart of the Libertyville community that my husband and I have loved since we moved to the area. I want to help ensure that the library continues its current trajectory as a house of knowledge, a learning resource, and a place for community engagement. When I describe our library to family and friends in other communities, they are amazed at all that our library district has to offer; I want to be part of the team that maintains -- and continues to add to - this vibrant community resource. It is a way for me to give back to our community through the resource I take full advantage of.

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: Yes, my library continued to adequately serve its patrons during the pandemic disruptions. While the almost complete shutdown in early March was hard on us all for many reasons, the library pivoted very quickly to bring communication and programming on-line. They promoted our elibrary options, offered support and opened lobby pick up for materials on hold as soon as they were able. They have continued to evolve and tweak the services they offer as the community's needs have changed throughout the health crisis. They have followed the states guidelines and recommendations from RAILS as services have been expanded, pulled back and expanded again. Once we have moved through the crisis, I am sure the board and staff will analyze what went well and identify areas for improvement.

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Q: Has your library seen a significant shift in the use of online materials? Has it adequately bolstered and promoted its online collection?

A: Yes we have seen a shift to online material usage. Online material usage is up nearly 37% fiscal YTD (July 20-Jan 21), driven by evideos and ebooks. The library did a good job bolstering and promoting its on-line collection. In April the Ins and Outs publication that is mailed to the community called out the eLibrary resources that are available and provide information on how a patron could reach out to library staff for support. The elibrary options were/are continually highlighted on the website and they even added a chat with a librarian feature.

Q: In light of our experiences with COVID-19, what safeguards/guidelines should you put in place to address any future public health crises?

A: Some of the safeguards/guidelines that are currently in place like masks and social distancing are going to be with us through 2021 and possibly even 2022. In addition, I believe we will continue to put an extra focus on hygiene, with hand sanitizer stations, and wipes available at tables, workstations and computer desks. Study rooms will need to be wiped down between uses and the sneeze guards will remain in place. The library may also need to look at its ventilation system and make upgrades if necessary.

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: I am a non-incumbent. I would like to lead the library in expanding its community outreach. While 70% of our community does hold a library card, I would like to see the library further promote its services, possibly through Library Day events at not only the preschools and elementary schools but the middle and high schools as well. We could also partner with local businesses/Main Street Libertyville to hold readings and events promoting library services. I understand and deeply appreciate the crucial role our library plays in the community. They do so much more than just lend books. Our library offers discussion groups, book clubs, tax preparation support, ESL support and much more. On a daily basis they attract people of all ages and all walks of life, fostering communication, providing education, and creating a welcoming environment that serves and supports the community. I am a can-do person with nearly 30 years in experience in corporate America. I am well-experienced in both team leadership and team membership, adept at consensus building, budgets and creative thinking. I have a positive, optimistic outlook and believe that almost any obstacle can be overcome.

Q: Do you have a library card? How long have you had it? How often do you use it?

A: Yes I have a library card. I have had a library card in every community I have lived in. I have had my Cook Memorial library card for 14 years. I have been a frequent participant in many of the library's activities throughout my time in Libertyville and there is rarely a week when I don't pick up or return a book, a DVD, or when its safe, participate in the Cinema Club, attend a lecture or just stop by to browse. I think my deep appreciation for the library's services will help me serve as a vital member of the Trustees as we continue to build the library's services and expand its community.

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