Stephen Sachs appointed to St. Louis County Library Board of Trustees
By: Marcia Guckes
Stephen Sachs, president of Sachs Properties in Chesterfield, is the newest member of the St. Louis County Library (SLCL) Board of Trustees. Sachs was appointed to the Board by the St. Louis County Council effective May 1 for a four-year term. He replaces Ken Stricker whose term expires June 30.
Sachs is following in the footsteps of his father, Louis Sachs, who was instrumental in developing many of the cultural facilities in Chesterfield including Chesterfield Arts, the YMCA, and the Sachs branch of St. Louis County Library.
Louis Sachs also donated the land for the library’s new 57,000-square-foot Center for Family History to be built on six acres at Baxter and Wild Horse Creek roads.
The St. Louis County Library Foundation is mid-way through an $18 million campaign to build the center, which will house the library’s collection of more than 80,000 genealogical resources. In addition, the Center will feature a space for special events, a family garden funded by Monsanto, and a “Hall of Families,” showcasing some of St. Louis’ most prominent families and businesses.
Stephen Sachs recently met with West Newsmagazine at the Sachs branch of the library to talk about his new role on the Library Board.
Q: How did your appointment to the Library Board come to be?
A: It started by Kathy Higgins (former president of Sachs Properties), who worked for our company for 35 years, being asked by Charlie Dooley (St. Louis county executive) to consider joining the Board. Knowing that she was going to retire soon, she didn’t want to do it, so she came and talked to me about it. She thought it was something I might be interested in and I might enjoy and that I could be helpful. So I called and told them I would be interested.
Q: What important role can you play for the Board and the library?
A: I hope that I can bring a certain perspective. Personally I’ve always used the library a lot so I certainly have that going for me. I have an MBA so I have a business background. Maybe some of that and some of my work experience could be helpful. Just hopefully with my unique experience I’ll bring a good perspective to the organization. The bottom line is I hope I can help improve things.
Q: What do you see as the future for libraries?
A: Libraries will go into whatever business there is to offer. They’ll embrace every new method to bring information to people.
Q: Some people also question the need for the buildings. Do you see a need for library buildings in the future?
A: I think all the people out there (in the library) do. This place is crowded! I saw more people lined up at that counter than there were people to help them and there were eight to 10 people helping. I know when I walked in here it looked packed so I think there must be a reason from the consumer side to have the facility. I think Google is great for what it offers, but I’ll tell you what, I’ll bet you there are kids studying and looking for stuff they don’t know how to find. They can come here and get somebody to help them.
The one thing I would stress is that the library is the kind of thing that could become fossilized over time, but if the library stays agile – as I believe our library has – it can offer things in the new ways people are beginning to use. I think the more the library can stay current then there’s going to be more and more access and hopefully more and more utilization and that’s what they (the library) should be after.