Denise Parillo was elected to the library board last week with 317 votes, unseating incumbent Eric Dobrin, who garnered 170 votes.
Dobrin resigned from his seat April 6, three months before his second term expired July 1, saying he wanted new director Colleen McCrea, who took over for retiring Cathleen Towey Merenda at the beginning of this month, to work with the new board.
“I felt…it was important that she have an opportunity to work with the board as it would be constituted on July 1 right away,” Dobrin said. “I felt this would be best for the director, the board and most importantly, the Westbury community.”
This year’s election drew 487 residents to the library to vote; more than double last year’s turnout of 233 voters.
“I think a lot of people felt very strongly that they wanted a change,” said Parillo. “I’m going to do everything I can to live up to what I said I would accomplish, to reach out to everyone in the community and make this library a focal point again.”
Parillo said while she had not heard from the board regarding if they want her to take Dobrin’s vacated seat, she had sent them a letter on Monday, April 10, informing them she would not be able to assume the position prior to July 1. And though she has a few months left before she is sworn-in as trustee, she already has several goals in mind.
“First and foremost, I’m going to be pushing for more books,” said Parillo. Another item on the top of her priority list is to implement programs that would help college-bound students. “I think we have to plan for the fall to make some programs available to parents and students. I would like to work in conjunction with the school district to make that a reality.”
She’d also like to have Spanish-speaking members of the staff available to help patrons with simple documents, and to implement more ESOL classes and book groups. Another main concern is the digitization of The Westbury Times, which is one of the reasons she decided to run in the first place.
Also approved during the April 4 election was the library’s budget of $3,243,000, which was passed with 357 votes (there were 127 no votes). The budget is a decrease from last year’s (which was $3,508,000) and includes no tax increase for residents; the average yearly cost per household will be $284.