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Interview With Boone County Library District Board Secretary Pat Powell
Each trustee serves on his or her own district board as well as on the regional library board, which is the governing body responsible for policy-making and fiscal oversight. A contract binds our three member library districts into a regional library system, allowing us to pool the resources of our whole region to give residents better service at lower cost.
Pat Powell holds the distinction of being the longest-serving current member of the DBRL Board of Trustees, having served since 1987. She has held a variety of positions including president during that time. In addition to her contributions to DBRL, she has much to be proud of. Before retiring, Pat worked as a media specialist at West Junior High in Columbia. She and husband Joe have two children, Keith and Cheryl, two grandsons and two granddaughters, all users of their public libraries in their respective communities. She’s an 11-year breast cancer survivor and was named Missouri Retired Teachers Association’s Distinguished Retiree for 2008. Through the Boone County Retired Teachers Association and Beta Beta Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma, she has been mailing gently-used paperback books to soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2003.
What made you apply to be on the library board?
Because I was a junior high media specialist when I applied the first time, I felt I could offer some insight into how schools and public libraries could work together to provide even better service for teenagers, as well as the public in general. Now that I have retired I am involved with different segments in the community who know I am on the library board.
What is the role of a trustee as you see it?
Trustees should represent everyone in their district to the best of their ability. One of the most important roles is financial oversight. It is a balancing act to provide excellent staff and service while keeping costs under control. The DBRL trustees support changing and improving materials and service while maintaining the quality of programs already in place. By listening to residents of our districts we get clearer direction for the library’s strategic planning and goal-setting process so we can keep DBRL as one of the state’s foremost libraries.
What are you most proud of regarding the Boone County Library District?
We now have a small, but very busy, branch located in Ashland that serves all of southern Boone County. The newest convenience is the Library-To-Go in Hallsville that allows northern Boone County patrons much easier access to materials they have placed on hold. The bookmobile provides even more access for county residents.
What makes DBRL special?
Because so much is offered at the library, it is busy all the time. (Just look at the parking lots!) Everyone is welcome at the library so you see people of all ages and types visiting every time you go in. Also, with so many library resources available online at all times, people can access information or download a book when it is convenient for them.
Do you have a favorite memory or story about libraries from your youth?
Until I was in seventh grade we lived one block from the public library. It was my favorite hangout, especially in the summer. I carried armloads of books home every time I went to the library.