On Wednesday night, we won an important victory. Library board trustee Olivia Hanusiak, who originally supported a widely-criticized austerity budget, broke with the majority and proposed an amendment that retains current funding levels for staff and operating hours. Because of all the work our community put in, employees walked into work Thursday knowing their jobs and pay are secure. The library’s hours will not be reduced, securing the community’s access to books, computers, programs, and help from staff.
Thank you! 💝
Thank you to every community member who wrote one of the hundreds of emails sent to the library trustees and the mayor of Niles over the last two months. Thank you to everyone who knocked on their neighbor’s door, sent a text to a friend, or shared a Facebook post. Thank you to each of the over 1,500 people who signed the petition in support of the library and staff. Thank you to the amazing community of over 200 people who showed up at the rally and public hearing on Tuesday, and the 45 speakers who voiced their concerns. Thank you to Ram Villivalam, Lindsey LaPointe, Jan Schakowsky, and Mayor George Alpogianis for your support. Thank you to AFSCME for all their efforts organizing library workers and making things happen. And of course our team of organizers who worked tirelessly day after day, meeting after meeting, hitting the streets, and doing what needed to be done.
Time to Celebrate! 🎉
While we’re taking the time to celebrate this achievement, we know this is just the beginning. There is still a long road to a properly funded and managed library. Even though no further jobs will be lost today, the library is still operating below normal staffing levels. We want vacant positions filled. We want to see the library accessible to the public the full 70 hours it was open before the pandemic. We want programs and services restored. We want funding for a collection that reflects the diverse needs, interests, and languages in our community. We want the roof repaired and the building maintained for the future. We want the trustees to stop wasting money on unnecessary consultants and awarding unlimited contracts to their friends. We will hold trustees accountable for meeting their legal requirement to release information to the public and comply with the Open Meetings Act. Ultimately we want the most marginalized people in our community to have the resources they deserve. The Niles-Maine District Library is a crucial institution that meets those needs.
We’re Just Warming Up 🔥
What we’ve built through this campaign is bigger than one rally or one meeting or even one victory. We will still be at the board meetings, and watching the agendas, and bringing the community together to demand a library that serves everyone. Together we are going to #SaveNilesLibrary and foster a better Niles for all!