Trustee-elect Michelle Walsh

MICHELLE L. WALSH
154 Jordan Blvd., Delmar
Bethlehem resident: 18 years

Occupation
Transitioning back into government relations.

Community service/volunteer work
Throughout my children’s educational careers in Bethlehem, I have always participated in the PTA as either Committee Chair or Committee Member as well as various other volunteer opportunities between the elementary, middle and high schools. I volunteered to substitute at Hamagrael Preschool while the teacher was on extended medical leave. I have volunteered my time in many different capacities to my church over the last 18 years, from Committee Chair, Member Correspondence, Summer Sunday School Teacher and Temporary Office Support to a 2010 mission trip to Nicaragua.

Additional details
Filling in as a PreK teacher is absolutely exhausting!

Experience and goals

What do you consider your most meaningful career accomplishment?
I once created and directed a coalition to lobby the issue of Medical Savings Accounts which were subsequently included in New York State law.

What skills do you bring to your tenure on the board?
As a former lobbyist my skills include analyzing proposed legislation and regulations to determine their impact; acting as a liaison between community and government; planning and budgeting programs for membership. More recently, I have managed a local, monthly book club for the last 15 years.

What are your goals as a library board member?
To help market the libraries services to the community; to act as liaison between the community and the library board; and to ensure that the money the library receives is well spent.

Views about libraries

How does a public library best serve its community?
By providing equal access to print and digital information; by acting as a community center with open meeting space; and by enacting public programs that ensure equity and inclusion.

What are the most important issues facing public libraries today?
Funding for capital improvements, public services and lending materials; maintaining community involvement; and keeping pace with expanding digital media.

How are public libraries changing? How can a library board expedite these changes?
Ever-advancing technologies change the way people learn, and public libraries need to adapt to those changes. One example could be to provide more work space with easily accessible charging stations where some level of noise is acceptable (phone calls/Skype).

How have libraries influenced your life?
Thinking about it now, I realize my entire life I’ve lived close to a library. I grew up in a time when-barring actual, personal experience-the library was the only place to get information. From a very young age, whenever I wanted to learn something new, the library was my first stop. Its influence is immeasurable.

Views about this library

What do you like best about Bethlehem Public Library?
There is something new to discover at every visit. Also, I love seeing the work of local artists lining the hallways; and Evenings on the Green in summertime.

What is your vision for the future of this library?
Continued public space in an expanding digital era. Also, I would love it if we could convince publishers of the marketing potential within public libraries. They could advance copies of novels for book groups to review, and our library could help improve and promote new literature.

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