Looking for a new way to engage with library?

While my son was growing up, I was deeply involved in our local schools - as PTO president at Hinsdale Middle School and on different task forces and groups related to Districts 181 and 86. Like a lot of other active volunteers in town, every couple of years I'd invariably get the question: Why don't you run for the school board?

A busy working mom, I honestly wasn't sure I had the time or the inclination. But one year when the election cycle began and someone asked me about running, I thought to myself: "Hmmm. You know what does sound fun? The library board."

And I was right.

I'm now midway through my second term as a member of the Hinsdale Public Library Board of Trustees, and I can say it was one of the best commitments I've ever made.

The library board is comprised of seven elected trustees. Four of those trustees will be chosen by Hinsdale voters on April 6, 2021.

With the November election, the economy and the pandemic consuming everyone's attention right now, I know it's hard to think ahead to April. But if you love our library, please consider becoming a candidate for library trustee.

People often ask me what the library board needs, in terms of trustees - what experience or skills are we looking for? I always tell them the same thing: To be a good trustee, you need to be interested and engaged, come to meetings and be willing to learn. No special skills required. Of course, it helps if you're a book and library lover like me, and it's valuable if you're someone who uses the library. You'll enjoy it even more.

The second question I get is: What do library trustees do? Our library board meets 10 times a year - once a month, except for July and December. We are stewards of the library and of the tax dollars collected by the library. It's our job to represent the community and help make sure the library is providing what our patrons want and need in the most effective and efficient way possible.

Each member of the board also serves on two of our standing committees. The committees do a lot of the "in the weeds" work, including making financial decisions, keeping the library building safe and up to date, and reviewing all of our policies.

When I made the decision to run for the library board six years ago, I never imagined some of the fascinating things I'd learn: everything from how the librarians maintain our book collection, to how the SWAN system really works. I also couldn't have foreseen the challenges we'd face - especially now, as we balance public health concerns with our mission to serve the community. It has been an exceptionally rewarding experience.

If you think you might be interested in running for library trustee or have more questions, check out our website at https://www.hinsdalelibrary.info for a candidate packet. Or email me or another trustee. We're happy to answer questions. We love our library.

- Julie Liesse of Hinsdale is president of the Hinsdale Library Board.