Name: Kate Garrett
Town of residence: Batavia
Office sought: Trustee for Batavia Public Library District Board
Civic involvement and volunteer work: I volunteer with Parent Teacher Organization events and school projects at my children’s schools, I help my neighbors stay informed about local politics as a precinct committeeperson for Batavia Precinct 2 and I serve as the treasurer for the Batavia Township Democrats.
Previous elected offices held: Elected to Batavia Public Library Board in 2017
Why are you the best candidate for this office?
For the last two years I’ve been fortunate to represent the residents of the Batavia Public Library District as board trustee and am very familiar with the challenges and opportunities the board is currently facing. My working relationship with the board and staff is respectful and productive. Among the rest of the trustees, my career in museum education provides a unique perspective on working with an elected board, in responsible application of tax dollars, and in public service.
What are the biggest challenges facing the office you seek?
Batavia Public Library faces the challenge of how to continue to provide all the foundational services patrons expect of their library, while remaining relevant as a community space in a digital environment. We can address this by focusing on the community-identified goals outlined in the Speak Up report and supporting library staff who are trained to understand industry trends and community needs. It is also vital that trustees are responsible stewards of resources. This includes financial resources from our local tax base, which accounts for 90 percent of library revenue, but also our environmental resources, material collection, and staff. We can address this challenge by facing the long-term impacts of our choices and plan for the future sustainability of the institution.
What issues would you like to address should you be elected?
The Batavia Public Library worked hard to gather community input during our public engagement initiative on what residents value about our library and what they want it to offer in the future. If re-elected to the board, I will thoughtfully prioritize these needs and plan for their implementation. The community also has a responsibility to provide library staff with the tools and spaces that allow them to perform their work effectively and to appropriately recognize the valuable skills and experience they bring to the organization. I will advocate that the facility supports library staff. Besides these foundational issues, I would like to work on moving toward universal library card coverage for all Batavia Public School District 101 students, and greening the facility to lighten our environmental impact.