by Elizabeth Rago
SUGAR GROVE—The odds of winning as a write-in candidate for an election are pretty slim, yet despite Sugar Grove resident Pat Graceffa’s application for the Sugar Grove Library Board being declared as “incomplete” because it was lacking the Statement of Candidacy, she is confident in her sincerity as a write-in candidate to serve library patrons and community members.
A resident of Sugar Grove since April 2001, Graceffa had been president of the Sugar Grove Friends of the Library and a library volunteer for 10 years. Taking the time to immerse herself into the community on a platform of reading and literacy, Graceffa gained knowledge as a Library Friend speaking to patrons that frequented the community facility.
The Library Board is looking to fill two 6-year term vacancies with incumbant Robert Bergman and Edward DeBartolo officially on the ballot, and Pat Graceffa as a write-in candidate. Anthony Oliver is on the ballot for the 4-year-term, and Louise Coffman for one 2-year term.
“Write-in campaigns are very hard to win, and I understand that, but the process is simple,” Graceffa said. “The Kane County Election website even has a virtual video that can show you how to write in a candidate in on the ballot. Remember, there are election judges at every polling station, and if you are not sure of how to write in a candidate, you can ask for help. The spelling of the name does not have to be exact but it has to be reasonably close. “John Smith” for Patricia Graceffa won’t work, but “Pat Gracefa” would probably do the trick.”
The mission of the Sugar Grove Library—“To actively participate in the development of a strong, literate and well-informed community by serving as a cornerstone of learning, and as the heart of our community”—hits home for Pat, as she is a life-long user and supporter of the public library system.
“The library invites the young and old, rich and poor, readers and non-readers to use our library and its materials,” Graceffa said. “For me, the library symbolizes the freedom we have in this country to form ideas, learn different points of view, speak our mind, and to read whatever it is we want to read with no explanation required. I admire the contribution of the many previous library trustees who have served on the Sugar Grove Library Board. This community has a history of being built from volunteer labor. I hope to build on that history.”
In a day and age when a massive amount of information can be found online, the misconception that public libraries serve as only an outlet for borrowing literature is far from true. A refuge for community members who need access to computers and free Internet to search for jobs, speakers are commissioned to present patrons with the necessary tools to write cover letters, create resumes and provide tips for working through the interview process.
The library is also a place to showcase community art, culture and talent and acts as an educational facility and a community center for seniors, where they can meet with their friends and neighbors, attend programs to help save on energy bills or assist with tax preparation.
“It’s hard for me to understand why anyone in our district would not support the library, because it does so much for so many in our community,” Graceffa said. “Your local tax dollars are the best dollars you will ever spend, because they stay here and help you and your neighbors. You have a right to know and understand how your dollars are spent, and it is the board’s responsibility to explain it to you if you have a question.”
Regardless of whether or not she is elected to be a part of the Sugar Grove Library Board, Graceffa will continue to believe in the powerful and positive impact public libraries have on their communities.
“The library is not obsolete,” Graceffa said. “I want to help in making our community library to be the very best it can be for library district patrons.”