- NAME: Kelly Farrah
- PHONE OR EMAIL WHERE CITIZENS CAN REACH YOU:
- Why are you running for Library Board?
I am running for re-election to the Library Board because I love serving on the library board. I was appointed to the library board in early 2016 and was elected to the board in November of 2016. I have been a lover of libraries as long as I can remember, regularly visiting public libraries as a child, using library services as a student, engaging with local libraries as an adult and with my children. I also love the Ferndale community. I want to continue my commitment to public service and my love for the Ferndale Area District Library (FADL) by running for reelection to the library board.
- What specific experience have you had that prepare you to serve on the Library Board?
Prior to serving on the library board, I was a member of the Friends of the Ferndale Library for many years, serving on its board as treasurer and president. I was also co-chair and treasurer of Citizens for a Better Library, the group that successfully campaigned in 2007 for the dedicated milage to renovate and enlarge the library and its services. I have demonstrated a strong community commitment, being a member of and serving on the boards of several community organizations. I am currently the Acting Executive Director of a metropolitan Detroit nonprofit, and I have the historical knowledge and understanding of the library’s processes which has prepared me to serve on the library board.
- How is the library responding (or how would you like to see the library respond) to the changes in information technology?
FADL recognizes the continual need to respond to changes in information technology. The library has upgraded the computers for both patrons and staff. The library has easy access to Wi-Fi in the facility and also with Wi-Fi hot spot devices available for loan to patrons. The library continues to increase its online borrowing resources and offers remote printing options.
- What do you see as the library’s role in responding to the covid-19 pandemic?
The library has done and continues to do an exceptional job in responding to the C19 pandemic in order to continue in their role as a very vital community resource. The library created a Reopening plan that protects the safety of staff and patrons. The library has instituted a successful curbside pickup program along with curbside printing services. The library offers many free online resources from Hoopla (eBooks, movies and music) to kanopy (movie downloads) to RBdigital (magazine downloads) to Creativebug (art and craft video classes) and Resume Builder, to name a few. Library staff adapted to C19 by offering programming online, such as the 2020 Summer Reading Program, and continues to offer virtual programming through Zoom.
- What do you see as the library’s role in creating an antiracist community?
The library plays an important role in creating an antiracist community. Libraries remain one of the few places in every community that are free and open to everyone and plays an important role in reducing the social inequalities that result from systemic racism. Pre-Covid, FADL offered the community free access to computers and the internet and early childhood literacy programs. (The early literacy programs are available online and internet hot spots are available for loan at curbside pickup). In September, through a generous donation, that library held a book giveaway and handed out copies of The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander, Race Matters by Cornel West and How to be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi, and in partnership with the Ferndale Inclusion Network, the library participated in an online guided discussion of How to Be an Antiracist. The board of FADL has recently created an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee to examine library policies, procedures, and work to strengthen library practices around these issues.
- What do you see as the strengths of the library?
The biggest strength of library is the staff! They are always working to respond to and meet the needs of patrons and the community. The library’s program offerings from literacy programs, local music concerts, art exhibitions, to classes and lectures are driven by the dedicated, creative and innovative efforts of the staff. The library also fosters partnerships within the community such as working with the Ferndale Public Schools and has effective working relationships with the City of Ferndale and the DDA.
- What aspects of the library do you see as needing improvement?
The library is continuously working on ways to improve. Responding to the ever-evolving challenges brought by the C19 pandemic and to safely continue delivery of services will be an ongoing learning process for the library. Libraries across the nation are working to increase issues of access and inclusion and I will continue to help the library to meet the dynamic times ahead.