Two candidates and one write-in candidate will vie for two six-year term seats on the Sugar Grove Library Board
Edward DeBartolo is a library advocate who will seek a six-year trustee seat on the Sugar Grove Library Board on April 9.
DeBartolo, 75, is a barber who believes the role of Library Board trustee is to make sure the library can be the very best it can be for Sugar Grove Library patrons.
DeBartolo said he chose to pursue the trustee seat after hearing of a vacancy (former board trustee Julie Wilson’s seat) on the board.
“I decided that I could contribute my time and efforts to making our library as strong as it can be for our Library District,” he said.
DeBartolo believes the Sugar Grove Public Library is the “best-kept secret” in the local community, and said his marketing background with the State of Illinois Lottery could help the Library Board get the word out to its Library District regarding library operation, programs and services.
“I am also a resident who lives in the section of Montgomery that is in the Sugar Grove Library District,” he said. “This community connection could be good for our library in many ways, such as communication, inclusiveness and, hopefully, new patrons.”
If elected, DeBartolo said his priorities on the Library Board will include marketing, finances and the “library collection of all materials.”
“On all three of these priorities, I would first like the opportunity to work with the present board and the library director to understand fully where the library is currently positioned on each of these three items,” he said. “This will help give me a thorough understanding of the history and current status of each area so I can establish my own action plan.”
DeBartolo said he’d like to also go through the minutes of the last few years to make sure he’s up to date on the board’s past activities and future projects.
“I would then outline a strategy to help me work along with my fellow trustees,” he said. “I, of course, will always talk to library patrons to find out what they like and dislike about the library functions.”
If given the choice to write, pass and implement any ordinance, DeBartolo said he’d target funding.
“I would also like for every local business and local community group to know that if they have a meeting or an event for their group, the library is the place to conduct it, because the library has beautiful meeting rooms, current technology and, hopefully, a wonderful coffee shop to help them with refreshments.”
Pat Graceffa will pursue a six-year-term seat on the Sugar Grove Library Board on April 9.
As a community figure, Graceffa really needs no introduction. She’s a library advocate, founder of the Sugar Grove Library Friends, serves on the Corn Boil committee, assists with the Sugar Grove Farmers Market, and even send out an electronic community newsletter to village residents.
Graceffa, 62, said she understands that a library director provides for the day-to-day operation of the library, and a library trustee is responsible to the taxpayers of the Sugar Grove Library District for all governance and policy-making decisions associated with the administration of the library.
“To be effective in fulfilling those responsibilities, a trustee must establish a close working relationship with the town’s library director, the library’s staff, the municipal officials of the town and the library’s users,” she said.
According to Graceffa, major responsibilities of a trustee include: short- and long-range plans, setting budgets, approving policies and plans, approving the library’s goals and objectives, evaluating progress toward the achievement of those goals and objectives, complying with all laws and regulations affecting public libraries, understanding the community’s needs and addressing the strengths and weaknesses of the services offered by the library.
“It is a very serious job that requires numerous skills and proficiencies,” she said.
Graceffa describes herself as a “lifelong user and supporter of the public library system, and said the library symbolizes the freedom citizens have in this country to form their own ideas, learn different points of view, speak their minds freely and read whatever it is they desire with no explanation ever required.
“I want a strong library in our district forever, and for everyone to use or not use—their choice,” she said. “I want to help keep the tradition of all of these freedoms in our community library, and it would be a honor to help.”
As a candidate, Graceffa believes she can bring perspective from the point of view of her 12 years as a Sugar Grove Library Friend and library volunteer. She said she’s spoken to parents, homeschool moms, teachers and literacy volunteers, all of whom struggled to identify the reading materials that would capture the interest of their children/students but still meet the reading challenges they may face.
“During this recession, I have talked to countless people who use the library computers and free Internet to search for jobs, speakers and materials to help them with writing cover letters, resumes and the interview process,” Graceffa said. “I’ve spoken with artists and musicians who visit the library for inspiration. They understand that the library is a place to showcase community art, culture and talent.
“I talk to seniors like myself, for whom the library is both an educational facility and a community center where they can meet with their friends and neighbors and attend programs to help them save on their energy bills or help them with their tax preparation. I’ve spoken to people who depend on the library to find books, magazines and newspapers in their native language. I’ve spoken to kids about Mickey Mouse, Harry Potter and vampires.”
If elected to the Sugar Grove Public Library Board, Graceffa said her first priority will involve making sure that the library has an up-to-date “planned” direction. She wants to help find board candidates who are interested in serving on the Library Board, and “bring skills to the library that it desperately needs,” and said that it’s her goal to put the “you” back in “your community.”
“When the public goes to a public meeting and asks questions, they deserve an answer and an explanation, even if the explanation is not one with which they agree; at least the public could understand why the objection exists,” Graceffa said. “I will always answer public questions honestly and to the best of my ability, even when they are tough, and I will ask my fellow board members to also do so if I feel the need arises.”
Graceffa believes the Sugar Grove Library needs a rate increase, as it hasn’t received one since opening its doors to the public.
“People voted by a huge number to build this beautiful new library, but on a larger scale they have voted not to fund an institution that any community would be proud to have in their town,” she said.
Graceffa wants the community to imagine how much more the library could do for the Sugar Grove community if it were allowed to run on a budget fit for a current library, not on a budget that would be insufficient even for the village’s previous library.
“We should be very proud of the Sugar Grove Library and its staff for the terrific job they do for us on a daily basis,” she said.
Library Board candidate Robert Bergman did not reply to the Elburn Herald’s election questionnaire.