Four of the seven Ann Arbor District Library board seats will be up for election on Nov. 6, and all four incumbents – Prue Rosenthal, Margaret Leary, Nancy Kaplan and Rebecca Head – have filed to run for re-election. The four-year terms begin Jan. 1, 2013. As of Aug. 9, no one else has filed for the positions, which are nonpartisan.
Ann Arbor District Library board members, from left: Prue Rosenthal, Margaret Leary, Barbara Murphy and Jan Barney Newman. Rosenthal and Leary are running for re-election in November, along with two other incumbents: Nancy Kaplan and Rebecca Head. The four-year terms will begin Jan. 1, 2013. (Photos by the writer.)
Library staff held an hour-long forum for potential candidates on Wednesday evening, attended by three people who are interested, or who represented others that couldn’t make the event. They included Lyn Davidge, who ran in 2010 but wasn’t elected. Also attending was Doug Jewett, who said he felt tremendously pleased with his experiences at the library. “For me, this is the center of Ann Arbor.”
Prospective AADL board candidates have until 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 14 to file to be placed on the ballot. To file, candidates must turn in an affidavit of identity to the Washtenaw County clerk’s office, along with a $100 non-refundable filing fee or a minimum of 40 valid signatures. [More details on the filing process are available on the clerk's website.]
The positions are elected by voters in Ann Arbor and portions of seven townships that are covered by the library’s district – Pittsfield, Scio, Ann Arbor, Lodi, Webster, Salem and Superior. Those are the same boundaries served by the Ann Arbor Public Schools, with the exception of Northfield Township, which is partly within the AAPS district but has its own library system.
Josie Parker, AADL’s director, moderated the forum. Four current board members attended: Rosenthal and Leary, whose terms end this year, as well as Barbara Murphy and Jan Barney Newman, whose terms run through 2014. Four other top AADL managers were also present.
The board will be key in making decisions about the future of the downtown library. Last month, trustees voted to place a $65 million, 30-year bond proposal on the Nov. 6 ballot for construction of a new downtown building. If the project is approved by voters, the board will be instrumental in determining the design and other factors.
Though it was mentioned, that project wasn’t the focus of the Aug. 8 discussion. Topics ranged from a summary of the AADL’s history to challenges that the library will face in the future.
Library staff had prepared packets of material for potential candidates, which included the library’s strategic plan from 2010-2015, the downtown building bond proposal, recent district statistics on circulation and other measures, a recent annual report and audit, policy manual and other information.
More details about the board are online. Chronicle coverage of the board’s monthly meetings can be found here.