Library board trustees are on a mission |

Library board trustees are on a mission

The members of the Grand County Library District’s Board of Trustees are on a mission.

They want to create exceptional libraries that provide convenient and universal access to quality information resources.

They want to do this while remaining committed to the highest ideal of library service for personal enrichment and community involvement.

And they want to do all this while embracing information in all its manifestations – the Internet, computer technology, books, periodicals and education. Facilitating community events at the libraries, encouraging early childhood development and offering the libraries as community focal points are all aspects of this mission.

The Grand County Library District Board of Trustees, approved by the Grand County Board of County Commissioners, guides the Grand County Library District. The board sets policy and helps prioritize decisions concerning the district’s property

tax-supported $2.6 million annual budget. Trustees on the board are selected from across the county, with equal representation from each area.

The board members are Bill Tetlow, president (East Grand County); Diane Bond, vice president (East); John Kacik, treasurer (at-large member); Rosemary Knerr, secretary (West); and trustees John Dolan (West); Louise Steneck (Central); and Tim Ondahl (Central).

Perhaps it goes without saying that the trustees feel Grand County’s libraries are important. But to hear it in their words gives an indication of their sense of mission.

“The library is the ultimate source of information for each community in the county,” said Trustee Tim Ondahl, who lives near Granby. He brings a broad range of experience to his work with the library district. He’s a retiree from the U.S. Departmet of Justice, Bureau of Prisons and has owned property in Grand County for 30 years.

“The libraries provide classes, discussion groups, reading suggestions and a full body of information for all,” he said. “Additionally, they provide programs for special groups from children and teens to adults that will instill in them the love for reading and the pursuit of knowledge. The libraries also serve as a resource for many diverse cultural events that add to the well being of the county and its people. The libraries ultimately serve an educated, questioning citizenry, the essential element for a democracy.”

Board Treasurer John Kacik lives near Winter Park. He’s a skier, kayaker, hunter, fisherman, hiker, biker, swimmer and a stay-at-home Dad. He brings to the board a deep understanding of the libraries’ value to family life.

“A few years ago, a citizen of Grand County came to talk to the trustees. She said that she would not know what to do without the library,” Kacik says. “I feel the same way. My kids attend weekly programs and my wife and I reserve countless books. I also use the library as a place to catch up with the other Fraser Valley parents.”

Rosemary Knerr of Hot Sulphur Springs works at Mountain Parks Electric in Granby.

“The Grand County Library District’s trustees and staff are diligent in their efforts to bring the best resources of information and technology to our community members,” she said. “It is our obligation to make it exciting for patrons to enjoy and appreciate the resources made available to them – right at their doorstep.”

A love of reading inspires Knerr’s library board service.

“I have always believed that reading was one of the most precious gifts life has to offer,” she said. “It’s an adventure, a distant land to travel to. It’s knowledge. It’s an escape – it’s wonderful.”

Board Vice-President Diane Bond, who has been the Middle Park High School librarian for seven years, says the libraries provide a needed service.

“I think the libraries have to be a real service for people here to be connected to the outside world and the people they need,” she said. “I think that’s what people look for when they move up here. We certainly seem to use our libraries.”

This sense of mission that inspires the board of trustees gives them a clear view of what the Grand County Libraries will be like in the future. The library board wants to embrace the changes in information technology while retaining the libraries as community focal points.

“Electronic resources, from e-books to online research will be the biggest change” in our libraries, Kacik said. “Our stated goal of having an ‘e-branch’ of the Grand County Library District will help in this expansion.”

Knerr also embraces the importance of the ever-changing world of new technology in this “age of information.”

“Advancements in technology alone will force us to expand our services in the future,” Knerr said. “The world is ever-changing, and so must the libraries.”

Ondahl knows we can look to our youth in guiding the approach to new information technology changes that may shape our libraries in the future.

Ondahl sees the libraries “riding a quantum leap into cyber space. We don’t even know the questions to ask, given the rapid turnover in knowledge and innovations.”

When it comes to future changes in information technology, he said it’s “imperative that the Grand County Libraries are open to and possibly leading the way, no matter the direction.”

Bond sees unique challenges ahead. The libraries will need to provide the sense of home and security that books and more traditional library services convey. But at the same time she says the libraries need to adapt to accommodate the changing roles of technology information.

“I think the community is going to grow, so just handling the growth with expanded hours and staff and services is one of the big future challenges,” Bond said. “I also think it’s really hard to predict (the libraries’ future) because of the changes that are happening with technology so quickly. I hope we’re not going to go away from the physical.”

In spite of change, she wants the libraries to remain as community focal points.

“You don’t what to lose the feeling of belonging, of home, of being comfortable,” she said of the county’s libraries. “You don’t want to be so advanced so that people don’t feel at home.”

The Grand County Library District’s Board of Trustees reflect a sense of mission inspired by public service that makes Grand County’s libraries information and community focal points now and in the future.

This is easy to see At Your Library.

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