As the only contested race in River Forest, three seats are open on the River Forest library board with four candidates running for office. What follows was supplied to Wednesday Journal and by the candidates.

Jennifer Rice Epstein

writer/stay-at-home parent

BA in English, UCLA; MFA in creative writing (fiction), University of Arizona

Community/Political Experience:
Board Member, Newcomers and Neighbors of Oak Park and River Forest (

Other/Professional Experience:
I am a former journalist and professional book reviewer with ten years experience. I also edit a specialty publication for my alma mater, University of Arizona, connecting MFA graduates with literary agents. I am a judge for’s Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. My fiction has been published in several literary journals, and I am currently revising my first novel. You can see my full resume online at

Running independently

Primary reason for running:
The River Forest library is a wonderful institution, but libraries everywhere are grappling with the changing needs of its users, and our library is no exception. I plan to help library administrators keep pace with our residents’ changing needs while continuing to attract new readers of all ages. As a board member, I will also make sure our taxes are being used wisely.

Thomas Smedinghoff


JD, University of Michigan Law School; BA, Knox College (Mathematics)

Community / Political experience:
St. Luke School Board (1996-1999)
Advisory Council, Brennan School of Business, Dominican University (2003-present)
Adjunct Assistant Professor of Business Law, Brennan School of Business, Dominican University (2004-present)
Chair, Illinois Attorney General’s Commission on Electronic Commerce and Crime (1996-1998)
Member, U.S. Delegation, United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (1997-present)

Other / Professional experience:
American Bar Association
Chair, Section of Science & Technology Law, 1999–2000
Chair, E-Commerce Division, 1995-1999; 2001-2003
Co-chair, Identity Management Legal Task Force, 2009-present
Uniform Law Commission: Advisor to Drafting Committee on Uniform Electronic Transactions Act

Member of following Editorial Boards:
The SciTech Lawyer (American Bar Association)
Privacy & Security Law Report (The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc.)
Electronic Commerce & Law Report (The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc.)
Internet Law & Business (Computer Law Reporter, Inc.)

Author of following Books:


ONLINE LAW: THE LEGAL GUIDE TO DOING BUSINESS ON THE INTERNET (editor and principal author); (Addison-Wesley, 1996, 560 pages, 6th printing 2000, Japanese translation 1998)

INTERNET IN THE WORKPLACE: MANAGING ORGANIZATIONAL ACCESS (co-author) (Software Publishers Association, 1997; 230 pages)

MULTIMEDIA LAW HANDBOOK (Wiley Law Publications 1995; 980 pages)

LEGAL GUIDE TO MULTIMEDIA, (Addison Wesley 1994; 652 pages)


Running independently

Primary reason for running:
• The evolving role of the library in the digital age
• Copyright challenges for lending digital content
• Patron privacy rights
• Serving the needs of an aging population
• Engaging students to read books instead of tweets
• Communicating to the community the availability of the library’s diverse resources

Mary Therese Small

Retired as A Foods Corporation Senior Manager in Consumer Insights (Business Analyst in Management, Marketing and Sales). (Directed business data bases development and corporate training.)

Community / Political experience:
River Forest Township Senior Services Board Member
River Forest Friends of the Library Board Member

Other / Professional experience:
St Xavier University Board of Trustees Member 2008-2010
St Xavier University President’s Library Advisory Council (co-chair 2005- present)
Ambassador, Road Scholar (Elderhostel, life-long learning organization) 2000-present

Saint Xavier University, Chicago, BA

Primary reason for running:
To complete Strategic Plan 2010-2013: as it relates to library building, its personnel organization (staff and board) and fiscal plan, market library services, pursue creative sustainable funding, and enhance community presence.

To develop long term goals and programs beyond the current plan.

If I am elected a Library trustee, I will use my competencies and skills (management, budget-and-contract, communication, research) to help in decision making and complete our stated goals. Our library as a community resource matters to me and I will help enhance it for our village’s residents.

Claudette Zobel


Current or previous elected office(s) you have run for:
Between 1975 and 1990, have been:
Member – Oak Park Zoning Board of Appeals
Member – Oak Park Plan Commission
Chairman – Oak Park Community Development Block Grant Committee
Chair – Oak Park Land Use Study

Other Professional experience between 1970 and 2010:
Chair – Bensenville Homes Society
Board Member – River Forest Day Nursery
Board Member – Wednesday Journal
Board Member – Lifelink Corporation
Chair – PC(USA) International Health Week

Running independently

Primary reason for running:
I would like to work to repair and restore the library building. A study of library building needs has recently been completed by the current board. A thoughtful implementation of that needs plan must be developed.

In addition, library patrons have growing digital needs. The board must develop a plan to appropriately deliver those services.

Lastly, books, books, books – The library board must work through the current Illinois state budget crisis that affects inter-library loan service and find a way to share resources with other libraries.

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