Hela Ben-Ayed: Cook Memorial Public Library Board Candidate
Hela Ben-Ayed is among six people seeking three seats on the Cook Memorial Public Library District Board.
Name: Hela Ben-Ayed
Age: Candidate did not respond.
Family: Married, 2 kids
Education: Ph.D., Management Sciences (Change Management)
Occupation: Corporate leader coach (Business French & Change Management)
Previous Elected or Appointed Offices:
Other community involvement: volunteer at my kids’ schools in Libertyville
Position sought: Candidate did not respond.
Campaign E-mail address: Candidate did not respond.
Campaign committee: Candidate did not respond.
Campaign Website: https://sites.google.com/site/helabenayedforlibraryboard/
Campaign Facebook: Candidate did not respond.
Campaign Twitter: Candidate did not respond.
Why are you running?
Since I moved to Libertyville in 2006, Cook Memorial Public Library District has been an important part of my family’s life. I really appreciate the library’s role as an important place and resource for the community. From a very young age, my children have enjoyed going to the library for story time, to get books and play at the inviting kid’s area. I, myself, was part of a book reading group at the library. Now I am eager to give back to the Cook Memorial Public Library District.
In what ways would the library district benefit from your service?
I believe I can bring new perspectives to the board in terms of ensuring continued relevance of the library, promoting the role of the library as a change catalyst and promoting cultural diversity. The experience I have in teaching, working with the community and in Change Management combined with my multi-cultural fluency set me in a strong position to promote the development programs that I envision for the Cook Memorial Public Library District.
What is the biggest challenge the library faces and what should be done to address it?
The biggest challenge the library faces is the technological advancements. If not adopted, they become a threat to the library, but if fully utilized they represent an opportunity for the library to drive incremental membership and thrive. Evidently such adoption does not stop with acquiring equipment, but more importantly by well training the staff on it and promoting the resulting services to the patrons.
What do you think the library does well?
The Cook Memorial Public Library District is offering amazing materials and services to different patrons of all ages, socio-economic levels and capabilities.
What should be some of the library district’s priorities over the next several years?
A. — Ensure that the Cook Memorial Public Library District stays attuned with and relevant to the evolving needs of the community: Success of an establishment depends on its ability to listen and adapt to the trends of its main stakeholders. This is no different for a Library where shifts in community lifestyles, needs and tastes pose survival challenges. Recent technological advancements specifically and the proliferation of digital media are examples of these challenges. How should library budget be deployed in a resourceful way to ensure that such challenges are turned from a potential competitive threat to an opportunity for growth? Also, make sure that Library staff, as the main interface with the library patronage, is leveraged in gathering and reporting feedback from these patrons back to management.
B — Promote the role of the Cook Memorial Public Library District from an information provider to a change catalyst: The Cook Memorial Public Library District is already offering amazing materials and services to different patrons of all ages, socio-economic levels and capabilities. The role of the library should not stop with making information available, but should extend to include innovative ways to present this information and bring it to life in a way that is meaningful to people’s lives and aspirations (such as job search service, personal development workshops…). Today it is imperative that the Cook Memorial Public Library District continue in this direction and embrace the challenge of a new role as a change driver. Such extended role relies on increased partnership with surrounding community institutions. I view my advanced degrees and experiences in both Change Management, and entrepreneurship counseling as assets in working towards these goals.
C — Promote cultural diversity: Although we belong to the Chicago metropolitan area, suburban communities remain less culturally diverse then what we may see in the city of Chicago. This is not necessarily due to the city being demographically more of a mosaic than what we are in the suburbs, as much as it is due, in my opinion, to disparity in opportunities for such diversity to be articulated and expressed (such as cultural events, venues and platforms). The point is not to set us on a competition course with the city of Chicago. But rather to put the focus and emphasis on the public library as a key community player to foster and bring to the surface the richness of cultural diversity that makes up the suburban social fabric. I propose a two-way channel: we can help international community members integrate with the American society through programs centered on learning English and about American culture, but we can also design cultural, linguistic and artistic programs that engage these community members to capture the cultural heritage that they bring with them as a way to further enrich the American culture. Having lived in four different countries (spanning 3 continents) over the years, I have developed an appreciation for the differences in cultures and an ability to positively engage people through the angle of these differences. I hope to utilize this capability through service on the Library Board.
What else would you like voters to know?
Candidate did not respond.