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Interview With Board Member Julie Baka
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.
Julie Baka and her family moved to Columbia more than a decade ago and have turned it into their hometown. Julie is president of the West Ash Neighborhood Association and visited the library often when she homeschooled her children. Both of them still use and enjoy the library for information and pleasure. She works part-time as a trainer for PhoneSmart and fills out her day by running two Internet retail businesses with her husband.
Why do you think libraries are important?
I love libraries because they are places where everyone is welcome to read, listen or watch anything that they choose to with no fear of being branded or ridiculed because of their choices.
What made you apply to be on the library board?
I helped start LEAP of Noble County, Indiana a number of years ago, and it continues to help people read and improve their literacy skills. It is one of the things in my life that I am most proud of. After moving to Columbia, I wanted to continue helping with literacy initiatives. The library board is a great place for me to share my skills and help ensure that our region continues to have library services.
What is the role of the district board as you see it?
I see it as a guiding resource for the library’s budgeting process, long-range vision and future direction.
What are you most proud of regarding the district board?
Our board is excellent at knowing our job. We don’t micro-manage the day-to-day operations. We’re here to provide guidance and staff support and to raise community awareness about library services.
What makes DBRL special?
I have to say, it is the staff. DBRL programs, buildings and efficiency would not be possible without the excellent staff that take care of every detail.
What challenges does DBRL face in the coming years?
The library’s biggest challenge will be to keep up with the newest technology. As eBooks and digital communication continue to get faster and better, we’ll have to continue to be a leader in offering training and providing materials pertinent to our patrons’ lives.
Do you have a favorite memory or story about libraries from your youth?
We lived in the country and went to the county library once a month. We were allowed to check out one paper grocery bag of books. It was always a day that I really looked forward to. My paper bag was always filled to the brim.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
If you’re interested in volunteering at the library, there are many worthwhile opportunities for you to do so. There are Friends of the Library groups, the Daniel Boone Regional Library Foundation, the library boards and lots of special projects and programs like One Read, which uses volunteers to present our awesome programming. Contact library staff or a board member and we’ll be happy to get you information on what you can do to help keep our library awesome. [Or get a volunteer application online.]