There are four candidates running for two positions on the Island Trees Public Library Board of Trustees. Incumbent Paul Shapiro was appointed to his trustee position last year, however that seat is up for election this year. Another position recently vacated by a trustee was not replaced. In this at large election, the candidate who received the most votes is appointed to a five-year term. The second highest votes receives will serve the remainder of a two-year seat.
The library's proposed 2005/2006 budget is $1,025,470, which represents a 5 percent increase over the previous year. Highlights of the proposed budget include the board's plans for 2005. Education software collection for children and young adult areas, more new programs, additional community space, handicapped accessible doors and more exciting trips were all listed.
The library budget vote and trustee election are scheduled for Tuesday, June 7 in the Dolores M. Morehouse Community Room of the library between 1-9 p.m. Those registered to vote in school elections can vote in the library elections. Otherwise, registration may be completed during regular business hours at the library through June 6. For information regarding absentee ballots, contact the library district clerk at 731-2211.
An Island Trees resident for over 20 years, Connie Giunta has also worked for the Island Trees Public Library for the past two years. She also worked for three years for the Nassau Library System, which oversees the libraries in Nassau County. Presently, Giunta is employed as a library assistant at the New York College of Health Professions.
"I am familiar with the day-to-day operations of a library," Giunta explained. "Furthermore, since I know both sides of the issues as a taxpayer and as an employee, I possess the experience you want to represent your views and interests."
Keeping taxes down without sacrificing or jeopardizing library services is Giunta's goal.
"I want every resident to feel that when they walk into their home library, they are welcomed," Guinta said.
Giunta has been married to her husband, Phil for 28 years and has three daughters currently attending college. For nine years she was a religious education teacher at St. Martin of Tours RC Church and also volunteered at school activities and Brownies.
James Mullen and his wife Dolores live in Levittown with their two children, Trevor, 6, and Jason, 11 months. Trevor is in kindergarten at Sparke Elementary School. Mullen is a 1985 Island Trees High School graduate who went on to attend Nassau Community College and Adelphi University. He is an assistant credit analyst at a credit card processing company, IRN (Independent Resource Network). He also coaches a girls soccer team in Long Beach and boys youth hockey team. Mullen said his reason for running for the library board is because he wants to become more involved in his community.
"I want to be an active member of this community and hopefully give some fresh ideas to the board," Mullen stated. "One of the greatest challenges facing the library today is that there aren't enough patrons. The library needs more people getting involved in activities or programs. The library has a lot to offer but not that many people are aware of this. I hope I can help with this problem and get people into the library."
Joel Ross and his wife, Debbie, have lived in the Island Trees School District for 37 years. Their four children are graduates of Island Trees High School. Ross was a psychologist in the Levittown School District for 29 years, of which the last 10 he was the chief psychologist. An active patron of the library, Ross said he is running for a board position because "reading and libraries have been essential to my way of life from elementary school through college, the army and professionally."
"I have attended board meetings and recently been a member of a committee reviewing the library's by-laws," Ross added. "I have also delivered books to a homebound resident."
Ross said it would be a privilege to serve officially as a board member "to continue its expansion of services, functions and facilities and target and address the ever changing needs of a modern library. It is also vital to hold fast to the original purposes of public libraries - reading for enjoyment, enrichment and edification and to pass on to children a love of reading."
Paul Shapiro, a 12-year resident of the Island Trees section of Levittown, has announced his candidacy for the Island Trees Library Board of Trustees. Shapiro is currently an appointed member of the board of trustees since November 2004.
Shapiro is retired from the EMS division of the Fire Department of New York and is currently manager of Fiber Foot Appliances in Farmingdale, a foot orthotics manufacturer. He and his wife, Ilene, have an 11-year-old son, Craig, who presently attends Island Trees Middle School.
A former 15-year volunteer firefighter, former assistant cub master and treasurer of Cub Scout Pack 600, Shapiro also attends most Island Trees Board of Education and PTA meetings.
When asked about the greatest challenge facing the Island Trees Library today, Shapiro responded "continuing to increase the library services for all facets of the community, while being fiscally responsible to them." He also stated that he looks forward to continuing to work with his fellow dedicated library trustees, in offering everyone in the Island Trees community the best services and programs possible.