Mary Phillips

Mary Phillips
Trustee candidate

Years of residency: 38 years
Occupation:  Retired Computer Scientist (from GE Corporate R&D – 31 years; from HRI – 15 years)
Community service/volunteer work:  Secretary to the Board of Friends of BPL; President of Q.U.I.L.T., Inc; member of Delmar Craft and Service Club; member of St. Thomas Knitting, Quilting, and Crocheting group; past Board member of Habitat for Humanity of Schenectady Co. (Board Secretary for 6 years).

Other details you would like to share:  I live in Delmar with my husband. We have 2 grown sons who have now scattered, but still come home to Delmar.  We have all loved the Bethlehem Public Library.

What do you consider your most meaningful career accomplishment?  The field of computers and software development has been a very volatile and exciting career path.  It has involved a great deal of flexibility to be able to keep up with and even ahead of the needs and the times, and I am pleased that I have been able to have been a part of that.

What skills do you bring to your tenure on the board?  I have good organizational skills and computer skills; I am flexible and persistent

What are your goals as a library board member?  I think it is important to keep the library current in these changing times and available to all of the public.  I would like to be part of doing that.

How does a public library best serve its community?  I think it is very important for a public library to be an available resource as times change; a library provides so much more than its book collections.

What are the most important issues facing public libraries today? Public libraries need to be able to keep up with the times and have the funding to do that.  During this COVID crisis, BPL has been great adapting to the new situations as needed.  This flexibility will have to continue in many ways we may not even be able to imagine.

How are public libraries changing?  How can a library board expedite these changes? I think that the libraries are becoming more flexible and digital.  The Library Board needs to keep up with what the future may bring to help be ready as the need approaches.

How have libraries influenced your life? Since a child, I have always used my local public library.  My 2 sons grew up in Delmar and our family has used the wide range of resources offered by the Bethlehem Public Library.  The services have changed over the years, but the library has been there to fill the need.

What do you like best about Bethlehem Public Library? I mostly use the digital offerings, but the library offers so much more than its collections (hard copy, digital, and other) –  like concerts, discussions, classes, etc.    I also love the staff at the Library – always so friendly, helpful, and patient.  And recently I have been involved with the Friends of BPL.

What is your vision for the future of this library? I think the library will become a bigger resource for the public (collections, concerts, meeting rooms, classes, digital offerings, and other resources).  Its collections are important, but the other resources are a very important part of the library as a member of the community.

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