Solidarity Card Events
Like the amazing activist, grassroots organizer, and educator Mariame Kaba says:
“It isn’t true that ‘noone is doing X’. In fact, it’s always true that ‘someone is doing X’”. That is to say that everywhere people are creating all sorts of ways to help others out. Niles is no exception because we just discovered the Solidarity Cards for Incarcerated Teens event programming at the Niles-Maine DIstrict Library for youth in grades 7-12. Inspired by Circles & Ciphers, it’s an amazing opportunity for our community. More of this please!
Public Meeting Access
The Village of Niles board meetings have just gotten less accessible. During the pandemic meetings were virtual which allowed for remote access, public comments over zoom and emailed comments. On June 18th the Village quietly announced in an online newsletter that because Covid restrictions are being lifted there are no more options for remote participation of any form, including emailed comments.
A community is cared for best when all voices are accommodated. This return to less accessibility is an appalling direction for our government to take. Contact us if your voice is being silenced or if you know somebody who is being systematically excluded like this.
Joe Makula’s Buddy Steven Yasell
It’s reported that patrons at the library saw Trustee Joe Makula shepherding Steven Yasell around the library on Friday June 29th. Does this mean they hired him anyway regardless of the public outcry? Did he even pass the background check they agreed to require like other library workers? Is this how they’re paying him for their campaign video work? Is our patron information safe in his hands? So many questions, so little transparency.
Capitol Fax: “Elections have consequences”
Speaking of which, Rich Miller of Capitol Fax took notice of this attack on our community and wrote this blog post mentioning Steven Yasell (check out that “oppo file”), the unionization of library workers, and the ousting of Susan Dove Lempke.
>> ACTION ITEMS 🔥
So many people have been wanting to take action, we hear you! Here is a whole smorgasbord of opportunities to fight for our library, to fight for justice!
🔥 Last Minute Special Board Meeting Wednesday, June 30th 6:30pm
The library board just added the SEVENTH meeting for June; another Special Board Meeting with only 2 days’ notice. Trustee Suzanne Schoenfeldt claims “Personal satisfaction comes from working for, and with people of the community”. How is this meeting schedule in any way accommodating the people of the community? The agenda includes a motion to deny public access to the library down to only 54 hours per week! That is below the Illinois Library Association’s standards for a library district our size. They’re also planning to add restrictive anti-transparency policies regarding press and communications. Public comments can be made in person or via email to: firstname.lastname@example.org by 5:30pm.
🔥 4th of July Parade
We’re marching in the parade y’all! We have parade spots still open but filling up fast! There are other ways to join too for people who want to join us to show appreciation for the library and staff and raise awareness. It’s going to be a great time so please come on out and cheer for the Niles-Maine District Library! Fill out this form to sign up!
🔥 Join us on July 20th
This is the one, mark your calendar NOW because you won’t want to miss it! We are bringing our voices together in person to let the anti-library board what we think of their grim austerity budget that is gutting our Niles-Maine District Library. More details to come but we are asking everybody to come out for this one.
Budget cuts are numerous and include:
Cuts to hours and staffing putting our library’s per capita grant funding at risk. Per Illinois law (see 75 ILCS 10/8.1.) there are certain standards that public libraries must meet in order to receive state funding. Our library board’s slashed budget and the return to pandemic-level operating hours will make it impossible for us to meet some of these standards.
Significant cuts to the Teen AV budget. We don’t understand why Joe Makula is targeting the Teen Underground for reduced access. Making the library less appealing to teens doesn’t help anyone. TEENS RISE UP!
Cuts to staff salaries that are partially due to the board refusing to allow the library to fill any vacancies ($144,299) and the rest of the cuts will impact the wages of existing staff ($415,118). Staff will either be fired or have their pay drastically cut. This includes a direct attack on employees even in the lowest pay grade.
Discontinuing all school and nursing home outreach. The trustees have heard passionate testimony regarding the importance of school outreach from our library’s former director, staff, the local school district administrators, and many residents. Yet they plan to disregard this important role of our library.
Local news outlets have been covering the extreme cuts and loathsome behavior of the anti-library clan of trustees: Carolyn Drblik, Joe Makula, Olivia Hanusiak, & Suzanne Schoenfeldt.
Chicago Tribune: Divided Niles Library Board tentatively approves $1.5 million in budget cuts, reduced building hours
Journal & Topics: Tentative Niles-Maine District Library Budget Adopted With Spending Slashed
Thanks for reading, see you in the streets! 📢