For the first time in a number of years, the Liverpool Public Library’s board of trustees has more candidates than seats available.
The election will take place at the same time as the school board and budget election. When voters go to the polls to determine the fate of the Liverpool Central School District budget, they’ll also choose two library trustees and approve or deny the library’s $3.6 million budget. The budget is up 1.36 percent from last year and calls for a 1.997 percent tax increase.
Three candidates are running for two trustee seats. Incumbents Timothy Dodge and Joseph Spado seek to hold onto their positions, while newcomer Karen Ingeman, a former LPL employee, hopes to gain a seat on the board.
Dodge has served on the LPL board of trustees since December of 2005. He has also served on the Onondaga County Public Library board since February of 2011.
“The Liverpool Public Library is a central part of this community, one that will play a key role in its future,” Dodge said. “I want to ensure that the library’s role will be a positive and productive one. Should the voters choose me to serve another five years on the board, I will do everything I can to see that the library maintains its current standards of excellence while keeping its costs as low as reasonably possible.”
Dodge said his experience, both as a trustee and in his work in insurance, makes him an ideal candidate for the position.
“I bring to the board a knowledge of how libraries work, the challenges they face, the opportunities they have to serve the public, and a realistic view of their resources,” he said. “I am employed in the property-casualty insurance industry; because of that, I have been able to advise the board and the administration on how best to spend its insurance budget and how its coverage options will affect the library.”
Dodge noted that the library has made numerous improvements during his time on the board, including putting in new, more energy-efficient windows and a new roof. Those projects were done with help from state construction grants.
“That said, there is more to do,” Dodge said. “I want to see the library continue to offer the high quality of service that it currently provides, but I am very aware of the financial strains facing families in this district. The taxpayers of Liverpool are not made of money and we cannot ask them to pay more than they can comfortably afford. Our challenge going forward is to continue to make this library great while being fair to the people who pay its bills. This is an exciting, challenging time to be on the library board, and I look forward to being a part of it.”
Ingeman recently retired from the Liverpool Public Library after working there for nearly 13 years. She has close to 35 years of experience in various types of libraries, including community college, university and public libraries. Ingeman said her responsibilities focused on reference and information services, collections development and management, maps and government information services, staff training and supervision of staff numbering from three to 16. She also acted as temporary director of small public library during two five-month maternity leave periods.
Ingeman said she would bring a new perspective to the board of trustees.
“I would bring a new voice via interactions with different people in the community and bringing their questions and concerns to the table,” she said. “My library experience has been on the front line of service to each community in which I have worked.”
Ingeman said it’s important to add that new perspective, especially on a library board that has seen little new blood over the years.
“Many of the board members serve unopposed for several five-year terms,” she said. “New thoughts and perspectives can bring vitality to a board whose composition has not been challenged and to a library on which the community heavily relies.”
Spado has been on the LPL board for 10 years. He first joined in 2002 as a way to continue a lifetime of community service.
“I’ve always been involved in the Liverpool area,” he said. “I’m very interested in the community.”
Spado has previously been both a coach and a manager for both Seneca River North Little League and Seneca Girls Softball; he also served nine years on the Liverpool Central School District Board of Education, five of them as president.
Spado said he is running again for the LPL board of trustees because he believes in the library’s mission.
“I’m very proud of the events we have for children, adults and seniors,” he said. I feel that the Liverpool Public Library is probably the best library in the county. I want to continue the good things we’re doing.”
Spado said his experience in sales makes him a good candidate for the seat.
“I’ve always owned my own business,” he said. “I know the budget process, having worked with the school district. I know how to negotiate contracts, things like that, that I’ve done over the years.”
Spado said he felt the existing board should be allowed to continue on its current path.
“I feel we work very well together,” he said.
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.