A new slate and a business voice.
From the November, 2020 issue
"Our shared vision for the future of the library is to build on its many strengths," says Jamie Vander Broek. The U-M librarian was elected to the Ann Arbor District Library board four years ago as part of a four-person slate strongly supportive of the AADL's current direction. She's running again this year on the same platform, but with three new allies--U-M policy science program manager Molly Kleinman, who was appointed to the board in March; clinical social worker Onna Solomon; and former city planning commissioner Scott Trudeau.
"We met together after we decided we were interested in running to decide, well, if we're going to run together, what are the values that connect us?" Vander Broek says. "And so our shared vision for the future of the library is to build on its many strengths"--one of which is library director Josie Parker.
"We have this treasure in Josie [and] we feel very protective of [her] as a board," Vander Broek says. "When we have questions that we think are important, we ask [library staff]. But I don't think it needs to be antagonistic because staff is awesome, and they produce incredible work." She sees the board's work as "to sort of codify some of the amazingness."
The fifth candidate for the four open seats is educational publishing executive Rich Foley. He agrees that "Parker is a very strong leader--very well respected within the industry [and] the library community."
He appreciates the current board, too. Through his work, he says, "I have presented to many, many public library boards, and usually they are the least functional things I've ever seen."
Not here. "This is a highly functioning board," he says. "But I can bring a business perspective ... I would try to figure out more ways to market the capabilities of the library [and] strengthening our partnerships with small businesses and local businesses."
Foley credits the slate for being "diverse" but says "there's certainly room for me. If I don't win, I don't win. But I'll be back."
[Originally published in November, 2020.]
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