It is love of the library that is propelling Dr. Charlene S. Berkman to run for library board trustee, to assure that our community continues our tradition of maintaining a first-class library. Her love of books and avid reading has given her a deep appreciation for the Port library.
After graduating from Tufts University School of Dental Medicine in 1978, Dr. Berkman moved to New York, opening her private dental practice in Forest Hills. She has always been civically active, becoming a speaker for both the American Cancer Society and the Dental Society's National Children's Health Month. She has distinguished herself professionally, as a clinical instructor at Columbia University School of Dentistry, founding member of the American Dental Association's Commission on the Young Professional, as chapter president, regent, and chair of the Board of Trustees of Alpha Omega International Dental Organization, as president of the Queens County Dental Society,
"I have extensive financial and fiscal expertise," said Dr. Berkman. "As the former chair of the Board of Alpha Omega, I oversaw and created budgets and finances for one of the largest international dental organizations. Since Alpha Omega also has a large Foundation, I understand the intricacies of working closely with allied organizations. As past president of the Queens County Dental Society, and as secretary- treasurer of the Institute of Continuing Dental Education, I once again coordinated the activities, fundraising, budgets and finances of two allied organizations. In addition, as a board member of Residents for a More Beautiful Port Washington, I realize how government agencies, civic organizations, the business community, and the residents of Port Washington need to work closely together for the common good. "
Dr. Berkman said she understands and appreciates the intricate relationships between the public and private factor, necessary for the successful functioning of the Port Washington Library. She also realizes that Port's taxpayers want the first-class library that we enjoy, but are concerned about rising taxation from other areas. "My expertise and experience make me the ideal person to be the 'public's watchdog,' making sure that Port's residents receive the highest quality at the best possible price," she said.
Dr. Berkman has worked on numerous committees, commissions, boards of directors, and executive boards, and said she understands how important it is for a Board to work closely together, to achieve their goals. She says she has always been a "team player," while always speaking out on issues to achieve the best possible scenario. Dr. Berkman has also chaired such prestigious committees as the Queens County Dental Society's Public and Professional Relations Committee, working to assure that the public receive the highest quality care they deserve.
Charlene has been honored with the Distinguished Service Award from the Conservative Synagogue of Jamaica Estates and the Queens County Dental Society, as well as being installed as a Fellow of the International College of Dentists. She and her family have been members of the Reconstructionist Synagogue since moving to Port in 1995.
As a vice president for marketing at Reuters and Dow Jones, Patricia Bridges led the marketing of their online business information services. She managed a staff, oversaw a multimillion dollar budget, and dealt with salary and benefit negotiations. "I have broad-based knowledge in information gathering and research, and I am well versed in online and digital technologies. These are important skills for the task of evolving and improving our community's library and information resources," said Bridges.
"I would bring to Port Washington Public Library a lifelong love of learning combined with 20 years of professional experience in information management, marketing, and communications," said Bridges. "To the board I would bring a unique set of skills that would round out the board's profile and contribute to helping them reach their objectives for the library and the community. My unique skills and knowledge would compliment and energize the existing board of trustees and help the board and the library continue to serve the community and achieve their longer-term goals."
"If elected, I will be dedicated to maintaining high quality programs within the respective budget, while listening carefully to the changing needs of the community and staff. The library is a center for lifelong learning for all residents. It is important that the entire community of Port Washington have the opportunity to make the library part of their lives and part of their learning and development," said Bridges.
Having elementary school-aged children brings her to the library many times each week. She is well-versed with all of the programs, services, media, online databases and exhibits that are offered through the library. She is raising her two children in Port Washington. She presently works part time at the Port Washington Schools and teaches ceramics at Haven Art. Bridges has an MBA in marketing from Pace University, and a BA in Film and Television from Hampshire College. Her volunteer activities involve the Sousa HSA, Girl Scouts, and her church.
Jack Guevrekian believes he is a responsible citizen who will do a good job as library trustee if elected. He wants to serve his community, and he has always been interested in books, especially on the subjects of antiquities and American history.
Guevrekian graduated with a BS in economics from Fordham University. He has been a real estate broker in the Cow Neck area for 30 years. He has lectured and published articles on American coins and Revolutionary War history.
His volunteer activities include a counselor for seven merit badges for the Boy Scouts of America. He is also a Kiwanis member and was a trustee of the Village of Flower Hill. He moved to Port Washington eight months ago and loves the library, which his family uses extensively. Guevrekian has been married for 54 years and has two children and four grandchildren.
"We have seen a rapid growth of Asian population in Port Washington in the last 10 years," Richard Li said. "It's about time there is genuine minority representation on the library board. The Asian community is diverse in itself. You need an Asian-American to gear the board towards the right direction in fulfilling Asian residents' needs." Mr. Li also points out that there is an increasing number of American parents adopting Chinese/Asian babies who need comprehensive assistance in reading, audio and video materials in familiarizing the adopted children with their native culture and language. "It's crucial to promote global literacy starting in the local community," he added.
If elected, Mr. Li would also like to see a permanent or mobile library branch in Manorhaven, which is the largest village in Port Washington and where there's a senior center. "The branch would provide easy access for senior citizens and residents in the vicinity of Manorhaven and Sands Point," said Li.
Mr. Li is currently employed at World Journal, the largest Chinese-language newspaper in North America, in a senior managerial position and reports directly to the company's president. Being with the company for almost 20 years, his main job functions include budgeting, generating revenue, motivating staff and creating new ideas for business development. As an experienced executive in a large corporation, Mr. Li said he understands that fiscal responsibility and operational efficiency are keys to success in both private and public sectors.
Richard Li has been residing in Port Washington for nearly 14 years. He holds an undergraduate degree in English Literature from Tamkang University in Taipei and a master's degree in Asian Studies from St. John's University. He said his undergraduate and graduate education, as well his life experience in Asia and America, provided him with crossover cultivation and in-depth views of different aspects in eastern and western cultures. Through constant travel among US, Canada, Asia and Europe, he has also developed an extensive knowledge in international cultural affairs Li said.
"In recent years there has been a fair amount of satisfaction and content surrounding our library," said Rita Santelli. "It has become a community pillar more than ever with advances in technology, marketing, fund-raising, partnering and performance. We brought in advances in new electronics and computers. Our current programs reach out to various groups in our community. With the Friends of the Library, the Library Foundation, Grants and Contributions, the burden on taxpayers is less. We strive to work closely with our administration to promote efficient and smooth operation. Preparing the annual budget, which is comfortable to our needs and yet will not deprive patrons of any improvements, is always our commitment.
I wish to remain as part of the board that has made these decisions and will continue the process."
Santelli has been a library trustee for two terms or 12 years and a member of the Public Relations Committee of the Library Board of Trustees which supervises goals, plans, contracts and operations in the library including the annual budget and budget analysis.
She was a member for six years of the Planning Board, Village of Manorhaven. They reviewed site plans in the village and approved them in accordance to New York State Law and Village Ordinances.
She is the president of the Concerned Citizens of Manorhaven-Civic Organization with numerous members. Santelli supervises the creation of the newsletter, attendance at meetings of other civic associations and promotes membership.
Santelli and her family have been residents of Port Washington since 1974. She has been a member of many organizations in addition to her library activities: president of the Doe Club, North Shore Elk Lodge #1458; member of the Columbiettes of the Knight of Columbus Council #1; lector in Our Lady of Fatima Church, Port Washington; member of the Photography Club of Long Island and instructor of piano and electronic keyboards.