Save Niles Library

Update: Library Special Board Meeting 5-24-2021

Thank you to all of the community members who came out to bear witness to and express their concerns at last night’s extremely long Special Meeting of the Library Board of Trustees. A handful of the new trustees’ supporters came early to grab most of the spots for public comments, but our presence let the board know that their anti-library actions don’t represent the community and we will continue to hold them accountable. While we wait for the board’s official minutes to be written and approved, here is some of what we saw and heard:

#SaveNilesLibrary Organizers taking a selfie wearing facemasks that read #save niles library.
  • The contract with Steven Yasell was approved, despite the dissent of the 3 pro-library trustees and many attendees due to the obvious conflict of interests (since he was their campaigns’ videographer) and lack of experience performing audits of IT equipment and procedures (only in the last couple of days did he add a list of services on his website that make it look like he does consulting work). Here is Jennifer Johnson’s reporting: Niles Library board votes to hire man, but some trustees object to conflict of interest, unknown qualifications
  • When the board was informed that raising the employees’ cost for their health insurance as high as Joe Makula suggested would actually cause the insurance company to drop the library’s plan altogether, he and the other trustees in his bloc voted to raise the cost as high as they were able to.
  • The trustees who were pushing for a freeze on building improvements and purchasing seemed to contradict each other at times, so exactly which building improvements and new purchases were suspended through June 30th is not entirely clear. A hiring freeze was put in place that prevents replacing much-needed staff members who left the library in the last year.
  • We are still trying to understand all of the changes made to the trustee manual and will be able to comment on this more once we can read the minutes.
  • In the Executive Session, the Executive Director and Assistant Director were excluded from the session but were not fired as many of us had feared. Instead a new lawyer was hired. When the trustees returned to the public meeting details were not shared beyond the name of the lawyer and their firm, so we’ll keep an eye out for more information.
Chalk on a wall that reads # Save Niles Library.

We’re taking a minute to breathe and then we’ll be sharing more about what you can do to #SaveNilesLibrary. In the meantime please help spread awareness and share the link to this post with friends, family and other supporters.