Gail Sacco

Bethlehem resident: 38 years

Retired Executive Director, Voorheesville Public Library
Community Service/Volunteer Work
• Volunteer usher at Saratoga Performing Arts Center
• Volunteer, Mayfield Yacht Club, Mayfield NY
• Member, Board of Directors, Jewish Federation of Northeast New York
• Member, Program Committee, Temple Israel
Other pertinent details
I graduated from Boston University and received a Master of Arts in Librarianship from the University of Chicago. I am currently enrolled in a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion program to broaden my personal knowledge. My husband and I are hiking the 27 Adirondack Fire Towers.

Experience and goals

What do you consider your most meaningful career accomplishment?
As a Library Executive Director creating a collaborative, supportive, and inclusive environment where staff could thrive and create innovative programs tops my list of accomplishments. Programs included hosting librarians from Croatia and Ukraine, developing an NEH Grant about poetry, and supporting students interviewing military veterans to record their memories.
What skills do you bring to your tenure on the board?
As a consequence of my extensive experience working in a school district public library I have a deep understanding of the Bethlehem Library’s structure, its relationship to the community, school district, and taxpayers. I am committed to the core values that make public libraries essential services in their communities.
What are your goals as a library board member?
My goals are simple — to bring my 34 years of experience to the library and help it move forward while making sure hard-earned taxpayer dollars are well spent and well used. This means supporting existing and creating new library programs and services that reflect our entire community.

Views about libraries

How does a public library best serve its community?
Great service depends on having educated librarians and support staff who value customer service and embrace professionalism. Library programs and services should offer life-long learning—from story time to adult programming. The Library’s infrastructure (building) is key to its ability to serve the public as are online and virtual services.
What are the most important issues facing public libraries today?
Libraries are uniquely positioned to enhance community engagement in a respectful environment that values freedom of thought and access to information. Public libraries also must fight book bans and the desire to curtail freedom of speech. In these divisive times, public libraries are a bastion of freedom that must be protected, nurtured, and supported.
How are public libraries changing? How can a library board expedite these changes?
Technology and ways people find and use information are always changing. Bethlehem’s demographics have also become more diverse. The Board, with staff, can chart the library’s services with residents, ensure that policies are comprehensive and encourage inclusive programs that meet community needs.
How have libraries influenced your life?
Libraries are the ribbon of my life. As a young child I was a bookworm. My first job was as a page at my local public library. I worked in libraries as both an undergraduate and graduate student. I retired after 34 years as Director of the Voorheesville Public Library.
What do you like best about Bethlehem Public Library?
I love that the library has books, ebooks, a seed library, a library of things, in-person and virtual programs, and outreach. The librarians are a credit to their profession. I love the outdoor performance space and the Wi-Fi at the pool. BPL’s services are an example of excellence.
What is your vision for the future of this library?
The foundation of a library is literacy. It provides programs and services to both build skills and help residents understand the world around them. BPL needs to continue its programs and while providing the community with a place to learn, meet, engage and understand.

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