Meet the Library Board of Trustees Candidates
Sustainable Wellesley continues its series of questions to candidates in regards sustainability, and how it relates to the important town positions they are running for.
This week we are publishing the responses from the 2 candidates running for the Wellesley Library Board of Trustees. This board focuses on the general oversight of all library services and policies, assess the Library’s needs and its role in town, establishes policies and procedures and works in conjunction with the Library Director to prepare a budget.
1. What is your track record on sustainability, including any particular interests and experience with sustainable ideas and initiatives?
I am a firm believer in the concept of “reduce, reuse, and recycle.” Growing up in Lincoln, Massachusetts, recycling has always been a part of my family practice. We are proud that we now live in a community that has a more comprehensive recycling program, and love our trips to the RDF. I borrow most of my reading material from the Wellesley Free Library, rather than buy books. I have turned my son into an avid thrift store shopper. We drive a Tesla. My particular interest is in saving this world for our children and their children.
2. How do you see sustainability as a factor in the development of policy and strategic goals for the Wellesley Free Library system?
The library is, inherently, all about sustainability – the ultimate source of reusable materials. By providing materials (books, CDs, DVDs, magazines, newspapers, and more!) to borrow, we encourage residents to conserve the resources of our planet, rather than to purchase new. Today, the library lends items beyond what one might remember from their childhood. Recently, the library has expanded our “library of things” to enable residents to borrow items that they might only use once rather than purchase, like a character cake pan.
The WFL is in the process of developing a new 5-year strategic plan. This plan will outline new initiatives for the Wellesley Free Library and new ways that the WFL can encourage residents to borrow.
3. Please describe any new initiatives related to the environment that you think the Library should undertake.
The Wellesley Free Library is always ready to partner with other organizations in town to protect the environment. Last year, working with the MLP, the Wellesley Free Library installed a solar powered charging station outside the main library building where residents can charge their cell phones. We are also working with the Sustainable Energy Committee to expand our “library of things.” As we create our strategic plan, we will continue to work with the community to develop programs and services that promote sustainability.
I joined the grass roots organization SMART (Sustainable Management of Appropriate Resources and Technology) formed in 2006 to lobby for a ‘green’ high performance high school. Our group was very effective in advocating that the WHS School Building Committee incorporate sustainable design into the WHS project. We raised awareness of green school building practice in the US and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts through researching and writing white papers and presenting our findings in citizen speak before SBC/PBC. We also formed a ‘Green Team’ to compete at the 2007 and 2008 WEF spelling bees (Pamela Posey, Katie Smith Milway and I won the Bee both years). The new high school achieved 34-point MA-CHPS certification, necessary to receive reimbursement from the Massachusetts School Building Authority and the PBC added $1MM more in ‘green’ features to the project. WHS was ultimately awarded a Green Difference Award in the Outstanding Green School category.
In 2007, I was asked to participate on an Ad Hoc Green Committee which produced a report to Town Meeting (see March 2008 Advisory Report, pp 125-127) in which we recommended the establishment of a “Green Ribbon Study Committee” charged with examining town energy usage and developing a Sustainable Energy Plan. (The GRSC ultimately led to the permanent Sustainable Energy Committee.) I was the Wellesley Advisory Committee Liaison to the SEC in 2012-2013 and participated in a WMLP pilot program to “peak smooth” my family’s energy usage; we got very used to doing laundry and running the dishwasher after 10 PM at night! As a Town Meeting Member for the past decade, I have supported all sustainability initiatives, including the formation of the SEC, stretch energy code, and recent plastic bag ban.
On a personal level, I live in a house built in 1848 lacking standard modern conveniences like central air-conditioning. (Our family has discovered that the shade trees on our property help keep us cool in the summer.) My family composts, avoids non-organic lawn care and tries to reduce, reuse and recycle whenever possible.
I recently attended a PBC meeting to speak as a former member of SMART to encourage the PBC and SEC to incorporate sustainable building guidelines into Wellesley’s current and future building projects. It was very encouraging to see so much support on both committees for this initiative. As a Library Trustee, I would continue to advocate for sustainability practice in building design, energy, resource and material conservation whenever possible. I was encouraged to read about the Library’s new “Library of Things,” whereby old games, puzzles, instruments, baking pans, etc. are offered for patrons to take home – a way to recycle items no longer used and/or to avoid having to purchase items that might only be used a few times. Most recently, the Library Trustees voted to support the town wide Integrated Pest Management policy promoted by the NRC. As a Library Trustee, I would encourage the Library to continue to work with SEC, NRC, and other groups in town which promote sustainability whenever possible; I believe the Library is, and should continue to be, a good neighbor which works collaboratively with other boards toward common goals that benefit our community and the greater good.