Candidate Q & A: Gary Amberik, Library Board of Trustees

The following represents the candidate’s responses to the Current’s questions for the Abbot Library Board of Trustees candidates. Jump back to Election Guide

Years in Marblehead: Our family has lived in Marblehead for 14 years. 

Occupation/education: I am a licensed architect working for a real estate advisory and project management firm in Boston. I have a bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of Cincinnati. 

Appointed positions and/or elected offices:

I was appointed to the Old & Historic District Commission in 2012 and have served on the Commission for the past 11 years. I was appointed to the Abbot Library Board of Trustees in 2018, elected in 2019 for a one-year term and re-elected to the Board of Trustees for a full three-year term in 2020 where I currently serve as the Chair. I am also the Chair of the Abbot Public Library Building Renovation Committee. 

What are the most significant issues facing the library, and how would you address them if elected? 

I became involved with the Abbot Public Library to help with the renovation project and address the failing building mechanical systems, as well as to update the space to be a ‘21st-century’ library.  Work is currently underway, and I am committed to continuing my role in overseeing the renovation project to ensure that it is completed on schedule and on budget. 

There has also been an increase in book challenges, mostly in other parts of the country, but some locally. Our director and the Board of Trustees have recently updated our Collection Development Policy to clearly outline the process for selecting library materials, as well as the process to respond to any challenges in a responsive and consistent manner. One very important part of our policy is that only Marblehead residents can challenge material at the Abbot Public Library. Libraries exist to promote intellectual freedom and to provide access to information for all members of our community. Individuals have a right to make their own decisions on what they read, and parents have the right to guide their own children’s reading. 

How do you keep the library relevant in the era of technology?

We often hear that libraries are no longer relevant or needed, but that is not the case. The Children’s Room offers a large variety of books and other resources to support early literacy and build a love of reading. Libraries have transitioned into more of a community gathering space, so as part of our renovation project we have included more open seating areas where patrons can grab a cup of coffee and read a newspaper or magazine — a sort of family room for the community. We have also included several small meeting spaces perfect for working, group study and tutoring. We are also adding a project studio and a sound booth — elements that will make the Abbot Library a true asset to the town of Marblehead heading into the future. 

What are your thoughts on the library’s role in preserving the community’s history and culture?

The library plays an important role in our town’s history and culture. The library maintains a local history collection including local maps, resident books, annual reports, biographies and local history books. We also collect the work of authors who either live or have worked in the town of Marblehead. Additionally, we support and host a number of programs focused on the history of Marblehead and the surrounding area. 

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