Charmaine L. Wijeyesinghe

Charmaine Wijeyesinghe
Trustee candidate

Delmar

Occupation:  author and consultant in social justice and organizational development

Community service/volunteer work:

  • Elsmere PTA officer (3 years, 1 year VP, 2 years President)
  • Bethlehem Central School District Board of Education (9 years as board member including 2 years as Vice President)
  • Various community volunteer activities sponsored by the Bethlehem YMCA
  • Bethlehem High School Track and Field Booster Club member and volunteer

Other details you would like to share:  I have used the services and materials offered by the Bethlehem Public Library for over two decades. As a published author (book chapters, journal articles and editor or co-editor of three volume -and an additional two under contract) I would bring (perhaps) a different perspective to the Board.

What do you consider your most meaningful career accomplishment?  I have had numerous careers, including working in higher education, the not-for-profit sector, and as an independent author and consultant. Each position contributed challenges and responsibilities that increased my knowledge and perspective. The most meaningful accomplishment has been  continuous growth.

What skills do you bring to your tenure on the board?  

  • written and verbal communication skills;
  • previous board experience;
  • budget development and supervisory experience;
  • board development and programming (done around the country in previous position);
  • significant training in group dynamics and facilitation;
  • data collection, interpretation, and use in decision making

What are your goals as a library board member?  To work with other board members, library staff, and diverse constituents of our community to create and manage the library as a resource that addresses diverse and changing needs and expectations. To be fiscally responsible in the process.

How does a public library best serve its community?  The library, and by affiliation its staff and board, serves the community by actively and consistently assessing the needs of residents and seeking to meet those needs with the tools and resources available. It seeks and uses diverse perspectives when discussing current and future issues.

What are the most important issues facing public libraries today?

  • Understanding the evolving nature of information and publishing in order to provide materials in a range of forms for residents;
  • Maintaining members and attracting new users;
  • Using creative ways of maintaining and even increasing services in an era of fiscal uncertainty.

How are public libraries changing?  How can a library board expedite these changes? I believe libraries have to adapt to technological changes in how information and knowledge are produced and used, while still maintaining more traditional forms of material. Community expectations of the library will also evolve. Being responsive to feedback and new resources will help the board adapt to changes.

How have libraries influenced your life?  I have sought libraries out for both recreation and for work. I use their resources for enjoyment, and to inform the material that I present to others through my publications and lectures. Having used the Bethlehem Library for over two decades, this library has  become a place where I find community.

What do you like best about Bethlehem Public Library?  The diversity of the material available to the public and the helpfulness of the staff. I also like the inter-library loan services.

What is your vision for the future of this library?

  • That it remains a vibrant resource for members of this community.
  • That it is able to attract new members and serve their interests.
  • That is can seek out collaborations with other local agencies (school district, town administration) in terms of services and resources.

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