Melinde Lutz Byrne is running a contested race for one three-year term as Bedford Library Trustee against incumbent Walter Gallo. She shares her qualifications and thoughts on the town here:
Bedford Patch: Can you provide some basic background about yourself?
Byrne: I've lived in New Hampshire since 1986; in Bedford since 2005. I'm married with grown children, both overseas. I've been self-employed for 36 years as a forensic and historical genealogist, lecturer, author, and editor. I studied cultural anthropology at Miami University, Oxford, Ohio; archival management at the University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon; and library science at Simmons, Boston, Mass. I was elected a Fellow of the American Society of Genealogists in 1993 and am a certified genealogist, Board for Certification of Genealogists (USA).
Bedford Patch: What made you decide to run?
Byrne: This is my second run for Bedford Library Trustee. I believe my background and experience would be beneficial and this is the most natural place for me to serve my community.
Bedford Patch: What qualifications do you offer the town?
Byrne: In addition to the above, I am a member of the New Hampshire Astronomical Society and of the Friends of Town of Bedford Cemeteries. My state and national memberships include, National Genealogical Society; life member and past president of the New Hampshire Society of Genealogists; past editor, New Hampshire Genealogical Record; past member Derry Friends of Education; and current member American Library Association (ALA), and member of its Reference and User Services Association (RUSA).
Bedford Patch: What do you see as the biggest challenge facing the town and how can you have a positive impact?
Byrne: Bedford ignores many partnerships and opportunities that would stretch our current tax dollars. I would work to see such opportunities recognized and embraced when appropriate.
Bedford Patch: What are your goals if elected?
Byrne: I would work to expand our book sales and their advertising; develop partnerships with groups who use the meeting spaces; enhance Bedford library card holders' awareness of great free online programs like Mango Languages; expand the free ticket program; contribute toward staff development in areas that would most help our patrons; and continue the fiscally responsible approach practiced by the current board.
Bedford Patch: Is there anything else you'd like to add for the benefit of voters?
Byrne: I believe the Bedford Public Library is beautifully run and am proud to have helped add an Orion telescope here as part of the NHAS Library Telescope Program. As a great fan of books, I recognize that electronic media both complicates and expands potential library offerings. New Hampshire towns such as Pelham have created impressive online archives to the mutual tourism benefits of their libraries, historical societies, cemeteries, community centers, and businesses. Bedford can tap into these same community interests and continue to enhance our vibrant library.