Meet Board Member John French

John French

John French grew up on a family farm in northeast Arkansas. His experiences led him to study agriculture in college, where he earned a B.S. in agronomy and an M.S. in entomology. He then worked at Dow Chemical Company for 25 years, during which time he developed an interest in business and law and earned an M.S. in Business Management. After leaving Dow, John managed a Midwest business unit in Kansas, Colorado and western Missouri. Now he owns his own consulting business, Niche Business Group, LLC, specializing in business development and management, sales management and hands-on-program management.

Why do you think libraries are important?

Libraries are important as a free source of information within their communities. They enable people to gain information to improve their careers, their health, their technological understanding and possibly their future. Libraries also enable us to embrace and appreciate our inner selves and understand the world around us.

What made you apply to be on the library board?

I have always enjoyed giving back to the communities where I reside. The most significant influencer in my decision to apply to be on the library board was my friend Marie Glaze, a previous Columbia Library District board member. She was complimentary of the director’s leadership, the various library programs provided and the quality of the library’s employees. Gaining an “insider’s view” of this progressive library has helped me deepen my own skill set. I am extremely pleased that I received this opportunity to serve our library.

What is the role of the district board as you see it?

The role of each district board is to ensure that people in that district get the best library services possible within the limitations of the budget and to manage funds specific to each district appropriately.

What are you most proud of regarding the district board?

Each trustee serves on his or her own district board (Boone, Callaway or Columbia) as well as on the regional library board, which is the governing body responsible for policy-making and fiscal oversight. To my surprise, the three district boards work very effectively as a regional board.

What makes DBRL special?

The high quality of service provided to the library patrons makes DBRL special. Although I am a library trustee, I am a patron first. The competency and desire to help patrons shown by the library employees sets the foundation of a pleasant trip to the library. The library’s digital branch allows me to identify the information source that I desire and reserve it for pick-up while I am at home, saving me valuable time. I can also locate and download eBooks without leaving my home.

What challenges does DBRL face in the coming year or years?

The reconfiguring of librarian roles to keep up with changes in technology during a time of tighter resources is a challenge. Library services and collections continue to grow, but the money coming into the library does not always grow to fulfill these needs.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Our Daniel Boone Regional Library offers an array of tools for personal and professional growth, and business success.

Favorite quote:

“I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.” – Abraham Maslow (“The Psychology of Science,” 1966)

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