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Candidates make case for appointment to Geneva Library Board

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014 9:42 p.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014 10:31 p.m. CDT

GENEVA – The Geneva library board has scheduled a special closed meeting at 6 p.m. Aug. 20 to interview candidates for a vacancy on the board.

Six are seeking to be appointed to the board: Jennifer Bruggeman, Bob McQuillan, Ellen Fultz Schmid, Zachary Ploppert, Charles O. Ellenbaum and William Broderick.

The names and their applications were released through a Freedom of Information Act request.

In his application, Ellenbaum, a 12-year resident of Geneva, wrote that he has a lifetime of being “hooked” on libraries. 

“For me, [libraries] are the gateway to new and wonderful worlds,” Ellenbaum wrote. “I don’t believe a democratic society can exist, much less flourish, without libraries open to all. ... I am an enthusiastic advocate for and user of libraries.”

Ellenbaum served as a library board member in Glen Ellyn from 1991 to 1995 and, after moving to Geneva, served on the Strategic Plan Advisory Committee from 2002 to 2005. 

A retired anthropology professor, Ellenbaum worked with PBS and the Annenberg Foundation to do a film series on archaeology.

Ploppert, a fourth-grade teacher in Batavia, serves on the Strategic Plan Advisory Committee, Historic Preservation Commission and the Geneva Downtown Rezoning Work Group.

“As an educator and dedicated community volunteer, I will use my knowledge and experiences to help promote literacy and library services,” Ploppert wrote. 

His goal is to work with the board, staff and public “to enhance library services and help keep the ... library current in the 21st century.”

Ploppert has lived in Geneva 24 years and twice lost elections to serve as a 1st Ward alderman.

Schmid, a resident of the community for 13 years, is a past employee of the Geneva library from 2001 until March, when she left to become a law librarian at the Kane County Law Library. She noted that she could contribute her expertise in library and information science, as well as her experience working collaboratively on a team, if she were chosen to be on the board.

“I believe the Geneva Public Library District is one of Geneva’s most valuable assets,” Schmid said. “I can attest firsthand to the important role [the library] holds in our residents’ lives and in our community’s future success.”

McQuillan, who lost a 2013 bid for mayor to incumbent Kevin Burns, is an 11-year resident of Geneva and works as a regional sales manager for a beverage company. McQuillan said he is “an independent thinker who will do the right thing for the entire community – not just special-interest groups. ... I have a true commitment to the freedom of expression and listen to all sides before making a decision.”

Bruggeman, who currently works as a human resources and risk manager at Batavia Park District, has lived in Geneva five years.

“I love working for a public service organization,” she wrote as a reason for wanting to serve on the board. “I believe my passion for reading and programs for all ages is a great fit for the library board.”

Broderick, a human resources consultant for executive searches, has been a Geneva resident for a year. A member of the Huntley Tea Party since 2011, Broderick wrote that he  has been active in local and national politics “in support of candidates consistent with key principles of constitutionally limited government, fiscal responsibility and free markets.”

With his background, Broderick wrote that he could assist the library board “in developing and implementing best practices in [human resources] management to enable fulfillment of library goals.”

“As a library user, relying upon library resources ... [I] normally consume one to two books per week,” Broderick wrote. 

As a board member, Broderick wrote he could assist in developing plans and programs for the future direction of the library.

The vacancy was created when board member Steve Andersson resigned last month to pursue his campaign for state representative in the Nov. 4 election. Andersson won the Republican primary March 18 and does not face opposition in the general election.

The person who fills the vacancy would serve until a two-year seat becomes open in April 2015, officials said.

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