Interview With Board Member Sue Breyfogle

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.

Sue Breyfogle grew up in a family of readers. As a child, she and her brothers always received handmade mittens and a book for Christmas. The love of reading stuck with her throughout her life. When she was in the Peace Corps in Tanzania, she unofficially became the librarian for the donated English language books. Upon her return to the U.S. she earned a master’s degree in library science and worked in libraries in Michigan. When she moved to Columbia in 1980, the first thing she looked for was the library, and she was pleased with what she discovered. She and her three children visited the Columbia Public Library often and admired the quilt display hanging from the second floor in the old library; now her grandchildren are frequent library users.

Why do you think libraries are important?
They are the backbone of the community where people can find information on every topic imaginable and read for pleasure.

What made you apply to be on the library board?
To me, it’s a way I can give back to all the libraries I have used since I was 5-years-old. I’m also a librarian and a lifelong reader, so I have a personal interest in helping our public library thrive.

What is the role of the district board as you see it?
The district board serves as a filter for new ideas being considered for the library, and it provides support to the library director and staff.

What are you most proud of regarding the district board?
I’m very impressed by the range of professional knowledge among the board members. I trust their input because of their expertise and dedication to helping the library. All of them are very supportive.

What makes DBRL special?
The staff is really fantastic. They are willing to help people with a number of things, not just finding a good book to read. Several years ago, librarian Svetlana Grobman helped me download a photo of my grandchild. The service and attitude have always been wonderful. It’s a national-class library.

What challenges does DBRL face in the coming year or years?
There are many unknowns about how digitized books and documents will affect the library. The board and staff need to stay attuned to these new developments.

Do you have a favorite memory or story about libraries from your youth?
When I grew up, in Flint, Michigan, my mother took us to the Carnegie-built library every Saturday. It was like a castle. I remember sitting in the window seat of the library building and smelling the bread from the nearby bread company.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?
The library is more than just a place to get information. It also offers a range of programs for kids through adults and original art, most of it done by local artists, some I know personally.

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