I’m Mary Anne Mohanraj, and I’m running for library board trustee in the Village of Oak Park; the election will be April 4, 2017. The Library Board sets policy and manages the budget, to ensure our libraries are effectively helping Oak Parkers find the resources they need in a safe, kind environment.
So far, our libraries have been well-supported and defended. They are fantastic, and I want them to continue to be fantastic, even under national administrations that may be hostile to information, community services, diverse populations and freedom of expression.
I’m the person who can help make sure this continues to be the case because I am a library patron, a mother, a writer, and an English teacher. Libraries are key to every part of my personal and professional life, and I want to make sure they are strong and accessible for every aspect of your personal and professional lives too.
To that end, I can’t wait to hear from you. What do you love about our libraries? And what do you need from them going forward? I’m ready to hit the ground running, but can only do that with your help.
“In challenging economic times, library usage always goes up, as so many Americans turn to their local libraries for help with schoolwork, job searches, and more. Mary Anne Mohanraj is an Oak Park library patron, a mother, a writer, and an English teacher. Equity and access are central to her progressive vision of what our libraries should be, and she is committed to making sure that our libraries work hard to serve working people, reaching into their neighborhoods with services such as pop-up libraries and senior shuttles, and expanding hours so less wealthy families can have the access they need to computers and books. Mary Anne believes that our libraries should serve the needs of all Americans.”
— Jim Dean, Democracy for America
SPECIFIC POLICY INITIATIVES
• Investigating the possibility of adding more hours to make the library more accessible, specifically Sunday morning and a weekend evening (this would be budget-dependent, of course, and would require demonstrating need and likely usage by the community)
• Encouraging the library to explore more diverse programming, such as a Spanish language children’s reading hour, and the children’s event the Asian American parent’s organization (FAAST) put together, featuring Grace Lin’s picture book, Ugly Vegetables
• Continuing to work on creating teen programming, to help make the library relevant to teens in an ever-changing cultural environment; programs to explore include maker spaces, animation and video programming, graphic novel writing and artwork, and more
• Expanding our services to underprivileged members of our community, in the same vein as the social worker the library recently hired
• Exploring the idea of pop-up library spaces, which would allow us to extend the library’s meeting and study facilities beyond the physical limitations of the current facilities
You can donate to my campaign online or via check; any amount is helpful! Thank you! It would help us if you’d include your name, snail mail address, occupation, and employer; these are required by the government for contributions over $200.
After donating, we’ll contact you to find out if you’d like any of our donor rewards.
• The Avid Reader: 5 bookmarks ($10)
• Show Your Love: an official campaign button and 5 bookmarks ($15)
• Kid-Approved!: a Kavi button (designed by my daughter), official button, and 5 bookmarks ($25)
• The House That Reads Together: 2 Kavi buttons, 2 official buttons, and 5 bookmarks ($50)
• The Library: a copy of Bodies in Motion, my Sri Lankan cookbook, and my children’s picture book, 2 Kavi buttons, 2 official buttons, and 5 bookmarks ($100)
Photos of the rewards are here: http://maryannemohanraj.com/librarycampaign/library-board-campaign-rewards/
Please note that I can only accept contributions from United States residents (or citizens and green card holders currently living outside the country). If you live outside the U.S. and would like to support my efforts, I encourage you to consider donating to my library through the Friends of the Library program!
Oak Park, IL 60303
We also welcome volunteers to the campaign — just get in touch if you’d like to help out, or if you have any questions. Again, thank you!