Approximately 10 ½ years ago the Kanabec County Commissioners put a notice in the paper asking for someone interested in representing the county on the East Central Regional Library Board. Tonja Brown saw the notice and jumped at the chance to send a letter to the commissioners expressing her interest in the position. Needless to say, she was chosen to represent Kanabec County and 10 ½ years later, attended her last ECRL Board meeting on Monday, December 15. Tonja has served the maximum time allowed by Minnesota statute for library trustees.
The written word has always been important to Tonja. She majored in English in college, worked in bookstores and always used the library, so sitting on the library board as a representative for Kanabec County was a perfect fit. “I grew up in the library” says Tonja. She believes there will always be a need for that “physical space.” Especially in these economic times, Tonja believes “libraries are important because not everyone can afford to buy books.”
The biggest challenge over the past 10 ½ years according to Tonja has been funding local libraries. When I began the library system was “doing well,” she says, “but now funding libraries is a challenge economically.” Tonja doesn’t see libraries changing all that much in the next 20 years. According to Tonja we will have many more digital and electronic resources to offer our customers, but there will “still be books on the shelves and we will still need staff” to serve them.
The East Central Regional Library Board would like to thank Tonja for her commitment to serving not only the people of Kanabec County, but to all those people in the ECRL region that believe libraries need a voice in our communities. We appreciate your dedication and hard work.
Vickie Sorn, Youth and Community Services Librarian