Karen Carpenter Palumbo, Guilderland library candidate

Karen Carpenter Palumbo

GUILDERLAND — Karen Carpenter Palumbo, making her first run for the library board, has a wide and varied career in public service and management, which she believes will serve her well as a trustee.

“I’ve been an advocate of the library for many years,” she said, noting that both of her children, as Guilderland students, had used the library to further their studies. “It’s a wonderful resource,” she said.

Palumbo described herself as “a social worker by trade.” She has a bachelor’s degree from the Rochester Institute of Technology and a master’s degree from Adelphi University — both of them in social work.

She has lived in Guilderland for 14 years; she came to the Capital Region to work as assistant secretary for Human Services in Mario Cuomo’s administration. She was then the commissioner for Drugs and Alcohol under Eliot Spitzer.

Currently, Palumbo is the president and chief executive officer of Vanderheyden Inc., a child welfare organization.

“I have a breadth of knowledge and experience to quickly identify needs and formulate action,” said Palumbo.

Asked if she supports the proposed $3.5 million budget for next year, Palumbo said, “I have to review it.”

She also said, “Budgets are just that….Whether it’s a million dollars or a billion, you have to look at the most effective way to marshal your resources.”

“The role of the library,” Palumbo said, “is a tremendous community resource….Now we’ve moved into an age of technology but people still need a meeting place and they need to know how to use technology.”

She went on, “There’s still a need for connectivity — person to person.” She concluded that, particularly in an era when technology can isolate people, “We have to find ways to bring communities back together.”

On plans for the future of the Guilderland library, Palumbo said, “One of the biggest issues is public libraries are untapped resources. We have to increase marketability of all we offer.”

She referenced the upcoming lecture to be given by Robert MacNeil and said, without the library, many people might not have a chance “to hear a speaker like that.”

Palumbo went on, “We need to respond to needs…bring in people like MacNeil.”

Asked specifically about her thoughts in light of the failed expansion proposal, Palumbo said, “I’m reserving my judgment. Let’s use what we have to offer.”

Palumbo said a book she loves is Eleanor Roosevelt’s autobiography.

“I go back to it again and again,” said Palumbo. “Eleanor Roosevelt is the unspoken Hillary Clinton of her era. She didn’t have the position” but, said Palumbo, she made a difference.

“We quote her and remember her. She was advanced intellectually, spiritually, and politically. She was an icon.”

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