Richard Akin

Background: Age 59, senior vice president and manager, Financial Institutions Cash Management Sales for LaSalle Bank.

Resident of Oak Park since 1974; worked in the banking industry for more than 30 years; two-term Oak Park library trustee, 1993-2001; participated in design and initial planning of the new library building and the hiring of Executive Director Ed Byers; member of the library’s Grand Opening Celebration Committee in 2003, which raised $5,000 for the library’s permanent art collection; his wife has been an employee at the library for three decades, so he recuses himself when votes directly involve employee issues.


1) Financial oversight, using his expertise in banking, and providing oversight on the Maze Branch renovations.

2) Keeping up with changing technology to serve the needs of a changing Oak Park population.

3) Fiscal responsibility as property taxes have hit an all-time high in the village.

4) Maintaining the library’s overall excellence.

Quote: On outsourcing jobs: “The first question is, ‘Is the function critical to our mission?’ There has to be a compelling economic reason to do it.”


Jim Egeberg

Background: Age 49, finance director, City of Des Plaines.

Master of Public Administration degree, U. of I.; 18 years working in the municipal finance field; served on the Parks Infrastructure Committee; Lincoln PTO volunteer; Ascension parishioner; past president of the Greater Chicago Chapter of Intercollegiate Soccer Officials; first run for public office.


1) Making sure the Maze Branch construction is completed within budget and in a timely manner, while maintaining the historic character of the building and yet making it accessible to people with disabilities.

2) Growing circulation to match the physical facility, promoting the computer classroom, meeting rooms and book group rooms so these assets are open and used by everyone.

3) Making sure programming matches the community’s multicultural makeup.

4) Conducting a community focus group and survey to determine what the public wants.

5) Keeping technology up to date.

Matthew Fruth

Background: Age 26, assistant manager, Circle Video

Locally raised and educated; graduated from Dominican University with a B.S. in mathematics; son of outgoing library trustee Steven Fruth; volunteer with the Democratic Party of Oak Park; adult leader, Ascension Youth Group; Illinois High School wrestling official.


1) Continue to gather community input in order to give residents the best possible facility without compromising the atmosphere.

2) Provide services that fit the needs and desires of the users. Determine this by developing a multi-format feedback system that assesses the success of existing programs and tracks attendance.

3) Provide more programming for youth and young adults.

4) Maintain fiscal responsibility while addressing the changing needs of users.

5) Address the problem with migrating birds with a dimmer system to adjust the lighting at night.

Quote: “The quotes [in the new library] are great, but they’re not that readable.”


Paul Gannello

Background: Age 49, former library custodian. Lifelong Oak Parker; former Girl Scout co-leader.


1) Opposed to outsourcing and privatizing jobs held by local residents.

2) In favor of a union to protect library workers’ rights.

3) No censorship of computers at the library, and make more computers available for non-card holders so the homeless people can use them.

4) Stay open on Sunday year-round.

5) More diverse movie and music collection.

6) Coordinate with PADS to serve as a warming center for the homeless.

Quote: “I’m weakest on finances, but I’m the strongest candidate on human rights issues.”

Dee Leonard

Background: Property manager for a large condo building.

Lives near the main library; served on the village’s Community Relations Commission; co-chaired the July 4th parade; PADS volunteer; connected to local Democratic Party.


1) Wants to see improved services for seniors, especially computer classes.

2) The new building is somewhat austere. It needs to be warmed up.

3) Enjoys fundraising, would like to see more aggressive efforts, similar to Public Radio and TV, better marketing.

4) More outcome surveys, phone or mail, asking, “How are we doing? What is your experience with the library?”

5) Make the entire library a wireless zone.

Quote: “Marketing the library is not a daunting task. We need to bring the bar up. That’s part of the board’s role.”


Mila Tellez

Background: Age 60, publisher.

Associate degree from Triton College; past board member, Project Unity; board member, Festival Theatre; co-founder REDCOOP (Responsible Economic Development?#34;Citizens of Oak Park); president, Suburban Community Newspapers; raised her family across the street from the Maze Branch.


1) Establish a board of associates, in addition to Friends of the Library, to handle more aggressive fundraising efforts, promotion, and strategic planning. Create more outside funding sources.

2) Make sure the Maze renovations stay historically sensitive to the Gunderson Historic District.

3) Take technology to the next level with wireless, flash drives, etc.

4) Create a more welcoming lobby with a welcome desk and visible community bulletin board.

5) No censorship. Inform public on which sites are off limits, but let parents take responsibility for kids’ computer use. Be vigilant about efforts by Homeland Security to violate privacy.

6) Establish partnerships with park district, village and schools to address the issue of homelessness.

Quote: On the bird problem: “We have to solve that.”

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