David Reeser began his journey toward the Library Board of Trustees in 2016 when he saw a piece in the newspaper about an opening on the board that needed to be filled.
Reeser spent much of his childhood in the library due to his familial and personal connections to it.
“My mom was the librarian there,” Reeser said. “She was a children’s librarian, and then later she became the director and was the director at the time of her death. My dad was the janitor there. He was a librarian at Rick’s College. We did all the janitorial there. I spent most of my growing-up years hanging out at that library.”
He eventually had to give up his seat on the board because he moved outside of the district.
One highlight of his previous time on the board was being surrounded by like-minded individuals.
“We were working for the good of the library,” Reeser said. “It was nice to just sit around a table with other people that love libraries and value education, and those kinds of things. And then to just dig into the policies and try to make those better, and help out the library because all of us agreed that the libraries are those fundamental cornerstones of our community, and we all just wanted to help out any way we could.”
Reeser said if he were elected to the board again he would want to help the library with its struggle to fill certain positions. He would look through the finances to see if cutting any positions would be possible and give other positions raises.
“If they’re going to have to pull that slack anyway because they’re not able to fill that position, they should get paid for doing that extra work,” Reeser said.
A cornerstone of the community
Reeser saw several similarities between public libraries and public schools. Both are available to everyone, regardless of their circumstances.
“I love libraries and public schools because they’re the great equalizers. And, you know, nobody has to pass a test. Nobody has to have a certain IQ. Nobody has to have a certain income. Everybody’s welcome. Everybody gets to participate and that to me is a great thing to have in any community.”
Reeser believes that the board serves a support role to the library and its employees.
“Everybody should be treated with respect, working in the library or working in public schools,” Reeser said. “The library board needs to back up the employees when they’re doing what can be a difficult job at times.”
Life as a Holocaust educator
Reeser’s love of libraries did more than just inform his decision to run for the library board. It informs his teaching career and how he teaches students.
Reeser teaches Holocaust and Human Rights at Madison High School. As a result, he has been able to travel the world.
One of his favorite books is Salvaged Pages: Young Writers’ Diaries of the Holocaust by Alexandra Zapruder. The book records several accounts of diaries written by young adults during the Holocaust. Reeser has met Zapruder on several occasions and she’s helped Reeser figure out ways to teach the material in the classroom.
“I use this in class every year so I’m very familiar with the selections that I use,” Reeser said. “I just love it. It’s just kind of that all-around thing that I love to share with my students because it gives them a wider perspective of what kids their age were struggling with during the Holocaust.”
Reeser also recommends everyone read Night by Elie Wiesel because it teaches the injustices of the Holocaust in a way that is easily understandable.
To learn more about what the Library Board of Trustees does in the community, visit the library’s website.