The Liverpool Public Library will hold its budget vote in conjunction with the school budget vote on Tuesday, May 20. In addition, voters will choose one of two candidates to serve as trustee.
Age 65 as of Election Day (birthday May 12, 1949).
Have lived in Liverpool for 28 years (moved to CNY in 1985).
Married 42 years to Esther Modell.
Two grown children, three grandchildren.
News anchor/reporter at WSYR Radio (1985 to 1995).
Investment broker since 1995, work at IBN Financial Services in Liverpool.
Also serve as due diligence officer for complex investment products.
Why are you running for trustee?
Liverpool Public Library is a cornerstone of our community. It offers a tremendous variety of books, music and movies to residents of all ages. LPL has also remained at the forefront of the technological revolution in library services, with everything from e-books to Wi-Fi to photography scanning. This is a resource that must continue to be well-managed and forward leaning. It is Important for long-time residents like myself to step forward and contribute our time, energy and knowledge to help the library grow and thrive.
Why are you the best candidate?
I possess a unique combination of skills learned through 25 years as a journalist and 20 years in financial planning. I am an excellent listener and communicator. I respect people from all walks of life.
I understand financial statements and work every day helping local residents plan their financial futures.
Prior to seeking this office, I also served as a trustee of my religious congregation and a trustee of CNY’s leading folk music society. I plan to use all of the skills I have picked up along the way to help the library remain in the forefront of our community.
What are the major issues facing the library and what will you do to address them?
Long term, we live in an era of budget cuts and belt-tightening. As we saw recently in the debate over charging fees to people living outside Onondaga County, libraries are constantly looking for creative ways to keep from reducing necessary services. These debates will only get more heated as already squeezed homeowners rightfully resist ever-higher tax rates. I will listen to the community at every opportunity to reflect and respect the opinions of our neighbors.
In the short term, the library has announced a nationwide search for a new director, so I am sure the trustees will be working hard over the summer, sifting through resumes and interviewing candidates to lead the library. I hope to be there as this process moves forward and a new director is eventually hired.
I am 53 years old. For 13 years I worked as the editor of the Syracuse New Times; before that, I edited Syracuse Parent, where I ran a monthly column about books you can find at the library. It was written by Ann Nagle, the now-deceased public information officer for the Onondaga County Public
Library system. My current job is communications director at Service Employees International Union Local 200United, headquartered on James Street. Research has been a vital component of all three jobs, and I have spent many an afternoon in the public library and Syracuse University’s Bird Library. I have lived in Liverpool since 2007. In addition to my husband Charles Bowers, I have two children and three stepchildren. I am a registered independent.
Why are you running for office?
Libraries are a vital resource to any community. It is important that we adequately fund the Liverpool Library’s services — local history, preschool story times, teen programs, book clubs, guest speakers, musicians and, of course, the circulation of books, periodicals, CDs and DVDs. I want to make sure that the library can continue to serve the needs of the community, most importantly offering as many free services as possible.
Why are you the best candidate for this office?
As a child, I wanted to be a librarian. It’s no accident that Thomas Jefferson is my favorite president. Not only was he a brilliant writer, but his personal book collection formed the core of the Library of Congress. My mother insisted that myself and my siblings read, read, read. We were at the library at least twice weekly. When I grew older and more independent (age 10), I rode my bicycle to the library in Vernon, spending hours in the children’s room there. I became such a fixture that the librarian allowed me to volunteer as a clerk of sorts, shelving books and clipping “Peanuts” comic strips for placement into a keepsake album.
My siblings didn’t escape my fascination with the library. I set up a circulation desk in my parents’ book-filled den, going so far as to get a stamp pad and stamper to remind them of the due date on a makeshift card taped inside the front cover of each book. While my career took another track, I still love the library. As soon as my children were old enough, they got their own library card. When my busy schedule allows, I help Aaron McKeon’s efforts to sort books for sale to benefit Liverpool Elementary School. I also regularly donate books and other items to the Liverpool Library’s sale.
In addition, I have volunteered with groups of which I am a member — Sunday School teacher, newsletter editor for various organizations, helper at children’s school events and parent-teacher organizations. I would proudly add the library board of trustees to my list of extracurricular activities.
What are the major issues facing the library, and what will you do to address them?
The Liverpool Library is currently operating without an executive director. One of the first tasks the board faces is to hire a new boss. Beyond Liverpool, all libraries face the prospect of becoming irrelevant unless they constantly adjust to the outside forces that could make the printed word obsolete. The vast resources of the Internet pose direct competition to libraries, and Liverpool is no exception. As with other taxpayer-supported entities, funding is another problem. I would be proud to continue the library’s tradition of remaining pertinent to the citizens it serves; in other words, giving them plenty of bang for their buck.
Sarah Hall is the editor of the Eagle Star-Review and the Baldwinsville Messenger. The 2012 winner of the Syracuse Press Club’s Selwyn Kershaw Professional Standards Award, she has been with Eagle Newspapers since 2006. She is a Liverpool native.