We are not OK.
During the June 18, 2021 Special Board Meeting the anti-library bloc (Carolyn Drblik, Olivia Hanusiak, Suzanne Schoenfeldt, & Joe Makula) forced the resignation of Executive Director Susan Dove Lempke. We learned this after an unprecedented and painful 4-hour closed session during which library staff waited and waited. (video) Susan has served this community for 23 years and began her career at the Niles-Maine District Library in the Youth Department where she expanded access to storytimes and developed relationships with dozens of area schools. She will be sorely missed for sure and the community and library staff are reeling from this tragedy imposed upon us.
While we are taking time to mourn this loss, we cannot forget what is still at stake. The final version of Joe Makula’s scrawled up budget has been posted and will be voted on at the July 20th Board Meeting.
- The budget includes $450,000 in cuts to staff, mostly from the lowest pay grades. The remaining staff are expected to make up the work, which will mean a reduction in other services.
- The library’s open hours will be cut back from full operating hours (70) and even what they are now (66) to pandemic levels (54).
- All outreach to schools and nursing homes is eliminated.
- The trustees are still considering the corrupt contract with Steven Yasell, despite his lack of qualifications, apparent inability to pass a background check, and the existence of another less expensive proposal from a qualified professional.
- Budgets for books and other materials are cut further than the already low levels from the pandemic.
We are making plans for the July 20th meeting and hope you can join us. But no need to wait until then, here’s what you can do in the meantime.
- Spread the word! Print out signs for windows (color, black & white), chalk savenileslibrary.org outside your house
- Let us know if you are planning to go to the 4th of July parade. We want to get as many people as possible along the route wearing buttons or stickers and cheering on the librarians. If you’d like to participate, please contact us or send us a message through social media.
- Utilize the library! Check out books, and attend programs. The trustees have been using the low checkouts and visits from the pandemic to justify many of these cuts. Let’s show them that this community needs and uses its library.