Jeanine Asche

Jeanine Asche

Age: 66

Years of residence in Bonner County:
Idaho native and Sandpoint resident for nine years

How can the public contact you? [email protected], 208-597-7856,

• Incumbent Library Trustee since 2013, past chairperson, and Tech Tutor volunteer
• BA, Master of Library Science (MLS)
• 40 years of library experience (Page, Clerk, Children's Librarian, Reference Librarian, Branch Manager, Youth Library Services Manager, Library Outreach and Literacy Services Manager for a 13-branch library system)
• Sandpoint Library expansion community fundraising chair
• Extensive experience in grant writing, program development, budget and personnel management
• Past experience as a Non-profit board president, treasurer, secretary for two youth/family collaboratives (prior to moving to Sandpoint); past Angels Over Sandpoint member

Candidate Positions
1. This is a volunteer position – no pay! Here's a three-part question: Why are you running for a seat on the library board? Have you ever attended a library board meeting? And, if elected, how many hours per week will you devote to your service on the board? Because I have always believed community service is something everyone should do, I soon began volunteering at the library shortly after moving to Sandpoint. I began by leading story times and as a "Tech Tutor," helping people apply for jobs, learn how to use their smart phones, etc. I was appointed to the District's board in 2013, was later elected, and I have been serving ever since. My library and non-profit background, skills and experience bring much to our community's library. I typically devote about 12 hours per month, but when I was chairperson of the fundraising event committee, I sometimes volunteered as much as 30 hours per week. I will devote as many hours as it takes.

2. How many times in 2019 and 2020 did you visit the library as a patron to utilize its services?
Wherever I have lived, the library has always been critical for my literacy growth and education pursuits as my family could not afford books. I have used our Sandpoint Library at least every three to four weeks, either in person or borrowing eBooks and audio books online. Prior to Covid, I also volunteered as a Tech Tutor every week and I have recently resumed this.

3. Do you consider the library to be well run and well managed currently? Is its board of trustees taking it in the right direction? If you were a teacher handing out grades, what grade would you give our library for the services it provides to the community? No institution is perfect, but having worked in multiple libraries, I know our Library is extremely well run. Our director was named Library Director of the Year in Idaho and the staff are dedicated to library service. Covid has put an incredible amount of stress on all of them and they all rolled with the punches as best they could. The board of trustees are all very qualified and we all get along very well because of our common goals. We are all committed to the First Amendment and
freedom of information and maintaining excellent library services.

4. What do you identify as at least 2-3 things you feel are important issues, that you would want to pursue or address as a member of the library board of trustees?
1. The library is inundated with local youth most days after school. Even with the library's recent expansion, there is still not enough room. We need to consider options to further accommodate the continuing growing usage.
2. The library's bookmobile, which is critical to serving those in outlying areas, is falling apart. Budgeting for a new bookmobile is a priority.
3. Transitioning from our Covid protocol to post Covid protocol, (including mask wearing or not) will require extensive information gathering and an effective plan. This is an immediate priority.
5. Let's talk vision. As the rise of the Internet and the World Wide Web has impacted our lives with instant access to information, the role of many libraries has expanded dramatically. Twenty or 30 years ago, providing books on shelves for checkout was arguably the primary role for the library. Is it still? Describe your personal vision for the services that the East Bonner County Library should provide in this new age of information. I have worked in libraries since right out of high school. I have heard people say libraries are becoming obsolete for almost 30 years, however, library use nationwide continues to climb. The key to staying relevant is to continually take the pulse of community needs and trends, then reinvent services to provide needed products and programs (such as youth literacy, internet access, computer classes, etc.) We need to provide multiple ways to access information and resources through any new format that comes along be it the internet, audio books, or the next newest trend. To date, I believe the East Bonner County Library is doing very well in this regard.

6. The library is a taxing district and its operations are supported by taxes. Do you feel the library is fiscally prudent with its budget? Would you seek changes to its funding or its expenditures? Our current library was paid for with a construction bond that was passed by a majority of voters. Since I have been on the board, it was paid off ahead of schedule. After 20 years and a substantial increase in our community's population, it was becoming apparent we were outgrowing our site and the board recognized the need for an expansion to serve the growing use. I am proud to say I was the chairperson of the board during that time and I led the community fund raising effort that allowed us to complete the expansion without the need to pass another construction bond. Additionally, our staffing costs and benefits have remained in the black. The library is very healthy fiscally.

7. A hot-button issue at the library for some during the pandemic has been its policies requiring the wearing of face masks as a health precaution for staff and patrons. The policy was opposed by protestors at the library last spring. Do you support or oppose the mask policy, or would you have handled this matter differently? At the recommendation of the library director, I and the trustees established our Covid policies in line with guidance from the Panhandle Health District and the CDC. We understand that some people opposed our mask policy for health or personal reasons. I am very proud of the fact that our library continued to provide all services to anyone and everyone throughout the last year. We provided online access, curbside pickup, and programs through zoom, etc., for those who did not want to enter the building because of our mask policy or due to exposure concerns. I support the science behind the CDC and I have supported the mask policy to help ensure the safety of staff and our community. After much thought and recent fact gathering and surveys, I sent an email to the other board trustees members asking that we consider revising the mask policy on a trial basis (unless Covid numbers rise) and look for options to keep our staff and community safe, such as requiring masks when interacting with staff not behind a protective counter screen, mask free times or days of the week, providing access to small study rooms, etc.

8. Finally: With multiple candidates for the two board positions up for election, why should voters give you their vote? What would you like voters to most consider in deciding how to cast their vote? Simply put, I believe my track record speaks for itself. I have worked most of my adult life promoting libraries and literacy and I LOVE our library. Finally, I have no other agenda than providing excellent library services for all.