Each year before Town Meeting, the Milton Independent poses questions to candidates for local office about issues they may address if elected. This year, five people are running for three seats on the Milton Library Board of Trustees.

Incumbent Veronica Valz and newcomer Henry Bonges are both seeking one three-year seat, and new faces Christine Hauslein and Judy Schmidt are both running for the remaining year of a three-year position. Chairwoman Jen Dooley is running for a two-year spot unopposed.

The candidates had 300 words to answer the following three questions:

1. Why are you running for library trustee, and what qualifies you for this position?

2. What would be your main priority if elected?

3. Although the board of library trustees crafts the library’s budget, the selectboard has final say on the bottom line. As a trustee, how would you maintain a balance between advocating for the library’s needs and being mindful of the board’s wishes and taxpayers’ ability to pay?

Henry Bonges

Seeking 3-year term

Bio:

Illinois native. Moved to Vermont in 1981 to work for IBM, where I’m still employed. Still live in the home I built with my father in 1984.

Father of two, husband of one and more recently the servant to two darling Boston Terriers

Multi-disciplinary and a lifelong learner. Most recent degree is in sustainability and the environment from Harvard, which motivates some of my community involvement, volunteering and activism, of which I has a long history of engagement.

1. I’ve been a strong participant in libraries my entire adult life, though until recently that has been primarily academic, university libraries. An admirer of our library and the library system, I will bring my experience, education and commitment to the public good to support and improve the already excellent Milton Library.

2. Priority one would be to learn how the library is funded and staffed along with the programs the library supports. The demographics of the customer set, relationship with the schools, home-schools. Relationship with other community organization such as the artists guild or community justice center (CJC). Foes the library have the proper materials so these groups would consider it a primary resource? I have no set agenda.

3. The library does not “need” anything, budgets will be based on what the community needs, which will be the justification taken to the SLB. If there is an unrecognized community need or benefit the library can fulfill, we will work to make the community aware along with dialogue to uncover other unfulfilled needs.

Veronia Valz, Incumbent 

Seeking 3-year term

Bio

Grew up in Vermont and graduated from UVM

Lived in Milton for 25 years

Have three daughters: Two have left Milton for college in warmer climates, and one is still at MHS.

Currently a library trustee and a contributor to the Milton Inclusion and Diversity Initiative (MIDI)

Work for a packaging company in South Burlington as the controller/office manager. I love the town of Milton.

1. I am running for library trustee because I value the library’s mission to be a community hub for education, entertainment and a resource for the diverse needs of all our residents and neighbors. As a current trustee I have had the opportunity to support our wonderful library employees with their numerous responsibilities; from purchasing, budgeting and maintenance to programming, marketing, community outreach and more. My professional experience includes accounting, human resources and office management, all of which I find assists me with my efforts to be an effective trustee. I have served on the board since January 2012 and hope to be able to continue to share my time and knowledge as a trustee.

2. One of my priorities if elected would be to continue to encourage MPL as it further fosters joint work between the public and school librarians. This joint work creates a larger reach for both and provides an opportunity to share all that they both have to offer our Milton students and families. In addition, we have a five-year vision plan in the works. That is also on my list of important priorities for the near future.

3. Preparing a budget that meets the goal of maximizing tax payer dollars is always a vital part of a trustee’s responsibilities. Fortunately, the current Library Board of Trustees, our director, the town selectboard and the town manager have a strong collaborative relationship. This allows for a lot of exchange of ideas regarding how to balance the needs of the library and the taxpayers. We are all careful and mindful of this requirement during each step of the process and work together to agree on budget numbers that provide the best service at the library while keeping cost in check.

Christine Hauslein

Seeking remainder of 3-year term

Bio

Retired teacher after 30 years

K-12 reading specialist, (MS is reading with specialist certificate)

Library volunteer

Lived in the area since 2006 and in Milton for two years

Married for 38 years to Lee Hauslein, retired instrumental music teacher, department coordinator and all-round jazz guy. Mother of David Hauslein, screenwriter in Portland, Ore. and Christian Hauslein, social studies teacher, Philadelphia. Grandmother to Henry Hauslein, 2-year-old dynamo who loves books.

1. Milton Public Library is the community’s center for lifelong learning and literacy, which were the goals and purpose of my career as a reading specialist. Since becoming a library volunteer, I have seen how the library is actively used by all age groups, from the tiniest tots to seniors. We are so blessed to have such and active and important facility, staffed by excellent and knowledgeable professionals. I want to become a trustee because the library is the heart of learning and community interaction in Milton, and I want to extend my volunteer involvement to advocate for its continued success.

2. My priority as a library trustee would be to help facilitate the efforts of the library professionals in their efforts to engage the community with excellent resources and opportunities for life-long learning and reading enjoyment.

3. Budgets are a necessary fact of life. The word “trustee” is based on the word, “trust.” The public is putting its trust in those it elects to be mindful of its needs, with the understanding that there are financial limitations to be considered. It is important to go forward with a spirit of cooperation, so progress and growth can be fostered. A 21st century library and budgetary requirements needn’t be mutually exclusive. A library trustee owes the community their best effort at open, respectful communication with the selectboard. My experiences as an educator are well-suited to the task of listening and developing plans based on the common goal of advancing the town of Milton.

Judy Schmidt

Seeking remainder of3-year term

Bio

Lived in Milton since 1997

Husband Michael and I have three children: Erik, Kathryn and Megan

Grew up near Buffalo, N.Y. and went to ECC for dental hygiene; graduated in 1992.

Have practiced in New York, California and Vermont for 26 years. Work at Willard Street Family Dental in Burlington as a RDH.

Volunteered at the Franklin County Humane Society, MES-in classrooms, Milton Falls preschool-registrar

1. I have always had an interest in doing more community service. I have personally enjoyed the programs the library has put on and what they have done for our community. I want to give back to the Library what it has done for my family.  I feel my experience working with dental patients has given me good communications skills and the ability to work well in smaller businesses. 

2. I would like to continue investing in the quality of programs the Library brings to the community. I believe the Library is a great asset to our town. So many families count on the programs, educationally or volunteer based.

3. I believe that transparency is key to working with the select board. There is no black and white. A solution can always be found after listening carefully to both sides. I will keep an open mind for the future of the library and the taxpayers.

Jen Dooley

Incumbent

Seeking 2-year term, unopposed

Bio

Married to Rick Dooley, who is a candidate for Milton School Board, for 25 years

Have three boys, ages 22, 19, 16. Two in college, one at MHS.

Lived in Milton for 21 years

Work at First Congregational Church of Essex Jct. as church administrator

1. I have been on the MPL Board of Trustees for 10 years, eight serving as chair. I worked at MPL for 12 years and at Essex High School library for three years. I love libraries and the freedom of access to information for all people that they stand for and want to volunteer to help support that in Milton the best way I can. “Perhaps no place in any community is so totally democratic as the town library. The only entrance requirement is interest.” –Lady Bird Johnson

2. We have a five-year plan that is coming to an end and evaluating that and working on the plan for the next five years will be my priority this year.

3. The board of trustees and our director spend all year evaluating the current budget and making notes to translate into where we can most effectively place our priorities to serve the informational needs of the people of Milton. This translates into an effective, relevant budget by the time it rolls around to budget season. Library people are experts at squeezing every single budget dollar!