Finally, a race for library trustee


By Jim Poole

It’s been years since there’s been a race for trustee seats on The Community Library board.
That wait is over.
Where usually trustee races are uncontested, five candidates will be running for three seats in the May 18 election.
James Collins and Shannon White Knowles are running for one four-year term, and Colleen Badger, Linda Carpenter and Julie Santoro are running for two five-year positions.
“People told me they can’t remember when there was a race,” said Library Director Kim Zimmer. “We must be doing something right.”
She surmised that perhaps as COVID winds down, people are eager to be involved in public arenas.
“The Library offers that opportunity,” Ms. Zimmer said.
While candidates mostly agreed that post-COVID gives a chance to be more active, all agreed that a crowded slate is beneficial.
Ms. Carpenter, the Library board’s finance officer, is the only incumbent on the ballot.
“Four of them are brand, spanking new,” Ms. Carpenter said of the other candidates. “Having so many take an interest in the Library is a good thing.”
Noting that several candidates are retired, Ms. Carpenter added, “When I retired, I decided to give back to the community. Maybe some of them feel the same way.”
Ms. Knowles pointed to the program variety the Library offers, from children’s activities to internet and computer access.
“I think that COVID restrictions on both library and school functions made it more important that ever to ensure that our library has a full-staffed board of trustees,” Ms. Knowles said.
“I decided to run because the Library is such a vital component of our community.”
Ms. Santoro also wanted to help the Library out of the COVID doldrums.
And, being a longtime patron, “This is an opportunity to give back to the community I’ve lived in all my life,” Ms. Santoro said.
Mr. Collins agreed that serving the community “is a civic responsibility,” but he’s also running to promote reading.
“What’s going to happen to the written word in this internet and cyberspace age?” he asked.
In the past, Mr. Collins added, “Books were enjoyment. Your imagination was allowed to grow. I’m not sure kids have that same feeling.
“I want to make sure people enjoy reading.”
Ms. Badger uses the Library often, and although praising Ms. Zimmer, she wants to see hours expanded.
“There’s a responsibility to bring ideas and help rather than be frustrated and complain,” Ms. Badger said.
Trustees have three main responsibilities, Ms. Zimmer said: finances, the physical building and the hiring of librarians.
Whoever wins next Tuesday’s race will join other trustees to tackle those duties.
“That so many people want to try to contribute is awesome,” Ms. Zimmer said.