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Meet the Library Board Candidates

A trustee is selected to a 4-year term.  There is no monetary compensation.

The position statements of the candidates have been provided in an effort to help our patrons make an informed voting decision at the April 2nd General Consolidated Election.

Question 1 — What are your qualifications for the position of Library Trustee?

Nancy Conradt: I have been a library user and library lover since before I could read. I support the core values of public libraries which include “intellectual freedom and resistance to all efforts to censor library resources.”* I also have created an organized store of information on library law and financial issues that is valuable for Board responsibilities in running our library. I have served on the Board for ten years, have been President for about half of those, and believe I have enough enthusiasm and love of our library to continue to serve another term as a board member or officer.

I have a doctorate in History and am a retired faculty member from the College of DuPage. I applied for and was given a vacant trustee position in 2008 and have run for Board office twice since then. After some months on the Board, I realized that among Board members there was not a consistent knowledge base regarding the financial and legal issues that the Board dealt with. I spent a significant amount of time doing a study of library finances, and using my experience in instructional design, made a PowerPoint presentation on all major financial responsibilities and rights of the Board. I did the same with the Illinois Public Library District Act of 1991. We have used both presentations with some revisions as orientations for new Board members ever since. I believe I have a solid intellectual foundation to help make financial and policy decisions for the library.

Patricia Weninger: Appointed to and then elected as a West Chicago Library Board of Trustee

Served on the West Chicago Library Foundation Committee

Special Education teacher for 30 years

Benedictine University instructor

M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction

Avid reader

Thomas (Tom) Tawney:  Resident of West Chicago since 1975
Former President of The West Chicago Public Library District Foundation
Former Member of St. Mary’s School Board.
Former member of St. Mary’s Church Finance Committee
Former Lay Reader, St. Mary’s Church
Former Assistant Commissioner and Coach AYSO (Soccer)
Former Advisor to the Americas Adult Soccer League
Former Coach to St. Mary’s Jr. High Soccer Team
Current Board Member, Mexican Cultural Center Helped establish, and am an active Volunteer with, the West Chicago Mexican Independence Day Celebration since 1992
Current Volunteer and Coach for the Miss Mexican Heritage Pageant
Current Theater Manager and Board Member, Gallery Theater, West Chicago
Current Trustee of the West Chicago Public Library District. (Appointed January 2018)
Retired after thirty years as an Executive Recruiter
Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology

My extensive background of involvement in West Chicago since 1975 gives me an unique perspective into the informational needs of Young People, the Mexican Immigrant Community and Business. My financial experience with Not-for-Profit Volunteer Organizations gives me insight into the Finances of a Publicly Funded Service Provider such as the West Chicago Public Library District.

Corrine M. Jakacki-Dattomo: As a former Trustee of the Board (2013-2017), I am familiar with the workings of the Board of Trustees. I also have a Masters in Library and Information Sciences from Dominican University (2001) and was part of the Strategic Planning Committee for the West Chicago Public Library (2012). I am the current Secretary of the West Chicago Public Library District Foundation Board, a not-for-profit organization established to administer community endowments and gifts to benefit the West Chicago Public Library District.

Question 2 — What is your motivation for seeking a position as a West Chicago Library Trustee?

Nancy Conradt: I am seeking a position as Library Trustee at this time because I believe in and wish to preserve equal access to information and ideas for all library patrons and for their children. I believe that individuals are responsible to censor their own reading and that parents have the responsibility to oversee what their children read. I do not believe that the values of one set of parents should determine what other people’s children may read or have exposure to.

Patricia Weninger: I believe that the West Chicago Public Library serves as an excellent resource for the people of this community. As a current board member, I am proud of the way it has expanded its services over the last several years. The library has increased its number of card holders, developed outreach programs for senior citizens and individuals with special needs, created a user friendly web site, significantly expanded its online/ebook collection through its membership in SWAN (a network of libraries that card holders can access for materials), added computers for patron use, and created enhanced meeting spaces within the library. The Children’s Department and Youth Services Departments have been reconfigured creating efficiencies, and an inviting place for our younger patrons. In addition, the programming offered in these departments strives to be relevant, interesting, and educational.

These innovations are due to a committed and well trained staff who continually seek to design programs that will provide services and programs to all library patrons. In order for the staff to do this effectively, they require a board that supports their efforts in meeting the needs of a diverse population. My motivation is to continue to support these kinds of innovative ideals and principles, in addition to providing oversight and accountability.

Thomas (Tom) Tawney: I wish to see the West Chicago Public Library maintain open and free access to information for all members of the Community. I respect the ability of West Chicago Families to determine for themselves what they feel is appropriate for their families, without Censorship in any form. I wish to see the West Chicago Public Library continue to offer free access to information for those who can not afford it, in the historically traditional mission of American Public Libraries. I am further motivated to oppose Censorship including “Censorship Lite” (placing materials on a “must ask for” shelf) as a result of an attempt by individuals to Censor a book In The West Chicago Public Library in August of 2017; https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-gay-pride-childrens-book-west-chicago-library-met-20170829-story.html.

Corrine M. Jakacki-Dattomo: The library is an integral part of the community through its collections, services, programs and outreach. I want to ensure that the library continues to meet the educational and recreational needs of ALL members of our community.

Question 3 — What do you believe are the most essential services that the Library should provide for the community of West Chicago?

Nancy Conradt: The library should provide free access to print and digital books and other cultural and entertainment materials. It should provide opportunities for enjoyment, education, and companionship for all age groups through programming and as a physical space where people can interact. Programs need to be both in the building and the community. The library should provide internet access and access to software for the district populace who might not otherwise have these things. It should provide opportunities for language development and other assimilation options for the foreign born.

Patricia Weninger: There are several essential services that the West Chicago Library should provide its patrons. First and foremost it needs to be a welcoming hub where community members of all ages and from all walks of life feel free to go, and are welcomed. Second, it should be a place where patrons are given an opportunity to enrich their lives through library programs both in-house and online. Third, it should be an attractive user friendly physical place that offerers a wide array of services. Finally, the library staff should be engaging, positive, and knowledgeable.

Thomas (Tom) Tawney: Provide free and open access to information. Provide strong support services for the Immigrant Community in their assimilation process. Continue to provide the traditional role of American Public Libraries by providing free access to books, periodicals, Internet, videos and interlibrary services to those who can’t afford to access these services on their own.

Corrine M. Jakacki-Dattomo: Access to information and services. Whether it is through print material, programs or electronic access, it is vital that the Library continue to provide ready access to such information.

Question 4 — If elected, what would you see as your responsibility to the patrons of the library?

Nancy Conradt: As an elected official I should research and understand the issues which are set before me and attempt to the best of my abilities to make decisions which are beneficial to all patrons of the district while being financially responsible.

Patricia Weninger: I have a duty and responsibility to come prepared to meetings, to actively participate in committee and board meetings, to support library policies, to make informed voting decisions, and to realize that the library is one of our community’s most important assets.

Thomas Tawney: To maintain open access to information for all members of the West Chicago Community. To maintain a financially sound Public Library without changing the current tax rate – unchanged since 2003. To maintain an up-to-date Public Library through innovative technologies. To respond to changing demographics and information needs of the Community.

Corrine Jakacki: To ensure the Library continues to meet current standards of service while being proactive and responsive to the changing needs of the community.

*American Library Association: http://www.ala.org/advocacy/intfreedom/corevalues