September 28, 2023


Elizabeth Larson, Batavia Public Library District Board election questionnaire

Batavia Public Library District Board of Trustees candidate Elizabeth Larson

Full Name: Elizabeth Larson

What office are you seeking? Batavia Public Library Board of Trustees

What is your political party: Democrat

What is your current age? 42

Occupation and Employer: Digital Shelf Strategy Manager, Advantage Unified Commerce

What offices, if any, have you previously held? Batavia Public Library Board of Trustees, 2019-2023. Serving as board Vice President 2021-2023

City: Batavia

Education: BA in Communication Arts and Sciences/History double major from DePauw University (in Indiana), MS in Information and Communication Sciences from Ball State University.

Community involvement: Friends of the Batavia Public Library board of directors 2012-2019, Friends Representative to the board of directors of the Batavia Public Library Foundation since 2013-2019, Library Foundation representative to steering committee of Bulldogs Unleashed 2.0 public art project in 2018. Member of the Batavia Mother’s Club since fall of 2016: positions include: Philanthropic Chair (2 years), 2018 Fox Trot 5K/10K/kids races co-chair, President Elect, President, current Past President.

Marital status/Immediate family: Husband Robin, daughter Ali (age 9), Miles the dog

Why are you running for office?

Four years ago, when I ran for the first time, I was someone who was interested in politics but had never stepped up to actually run for office. I began to wonder if I could make a difference or be the person to step up. While my individual voice may not change the world, it could help my community. After overcoming some imposter syndrome, I put my name in and ran. The Library was the place I felt I could make a difference as I had been on the board of the Friends of the Batavia Public Library for 7 years and had 6 years as the Friends liaison to the Batavia Public Library Foundation. I have enjoyed my time serving the public as a Library Trustee and want to continue to serve and do my part. Decisions are made by those who show up and now is my time to show up.

What makes you qualified for the office you’re seeking?

After 7 years of stepping up onto the Board of the Friends of the Library, 6 years as the Friends liaison to the Library Foundation, working on the steering committee to a joint venture between the Library, Parks, and Schools that raised over $70K for the foundations with Bulldogs Unleashed, I took the step of running for Trustee of the Library. I have enjoyed my 4 years serving and wish to continue to serve.

What is a library’s role in its community?

The main thing that Libraries can and have provided in changing times is access and space. Libraries provide: access to information/books/electronic books/media/video games/the Library of things; access to internet for those who do not have access at home; access to specialty databases/journals/newspapers that are not open to individuals; access to free lectures and classes on how to use technology and research, music events, story times, storybook character visits, and family events in youth services; access to trained personal to help sort through all the information out there to figure out exactly what is needed (I have never found a question that a Librarian could not answer with time to research); and access to space for the community (rooms to use for other nonprofits/organizations as meeting spaces, tutoring spaces, places to study and/or read quietly, place for kids to play). Libraries reflect and support their communities and can help users sort through all the information out there to find exactly what they need.

Do you support banning books from local libraries?


Which books would you ban from your library and why?

If there is a book in the Library that you do not like or want to read, do not read it. The Library provides access to information, it is up to you as an individual and parents for their children to decide what reading is acceptable. I want individuals to be able to make that decision on their own and not be dictated to by someone else.

“What exactly are you so happy about?’ Harry asked her. ‘Oh Harry, don’t you see?’ Hermione breathed. ‘If she could have done one thing to make absolutely sure that every single person in this school will read your interview, it was banning it!” -JK Rowling

Are voters that support your district taxed at an appropriate level?

As a frequent user of the Library, I save way more money than I spend in Library specific taxes (just by checking out books). The events, staff, tech, free event space for local groups, etc. that the Library provides help ensure that our community is strong and supported. Our Library is worth it and needs to stay worthy of our community.

Would you support any plans to raise taxes in the district? If so, what should the additional revenue be spent on?

In order to be the most truthful, I would need to see the specific tax request and the reasoning/explanation on why it was needed before answering. As a Trustee, part of my job is to ensure that the budget and funds that we receive are spent well and I believe that the Library takes its budget and spending seriously.

Would you support lowering taxes in your library district? If so, what programs or services in the district would you cut?

I support keeping an overall eye on the Library budget to ensure that our tax dollars are spent appropriately. Any decision to cut programs and services needs to be taken seriously to ensure that our community’s needs are still being met and that we do not cut off or hurt those most vulnerable.

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