Greetings community members,
In an inclusive community, all voices would be represented and heard. We wrote about how public access to Village of Niles Board Meetings has been recently restricted. Now we’re seeing how the Niles-Maine District Library board led by Carolyn Drblik is similarly restricting access and engagement. This is an expected response when we speak truth to power but we should never ever accept such restrictions. Public participation should be prioritized to ensure a truly democratic process.
Speaking of public participation, did you know that the Village of Niles has a “Community Relations Commission”? What do they do? Well we’re glad you asked! Here’s their stated purpose:
“The purpose of the Community Relations Commission shall be to foster, encourage and stimulate the improvement of relations among and between citizens of all races, creeds, national origins and economic and educational levels; and to provide all individuals with an equal opportunity to grow and participate to the best of their ability in the economic, educational, social and cultural activities available in the community. The Commission will also assist in the development of public information and related communication programs to enhance the quality of life for all Village residents. “
But here’s the punch line: Carolyn Drblik, the very person leading the anti-library attack upon our community, is also a commissioner tasked to “improve relations”. How can she serve on this commission and not speak out against fellow library board member Joe Makula’s racist comments, and continue to silence dissent during public comments at board meetings, and disregard the Niles Youth Community’s anti-racist demands? We’re looking into this more.
Speaking of the library, we’ve been very busy setting the foundation for the continued #SaveNilesLibrary campaign into 2022. We’re so excited for the plans we have in store!!
Letter-writing action update
In our last email a month ago, we launched a new letter-writing action: Help Save Niles-Maine District Library! To date, 798 letters were sent! Thank you, thank you! We’ll be following up with the results of this action we collectively took to speak truth to power!
Niles Youth Community update
Our Niles Youth Community caucus launched an anti-racist petition in September. To date 209 people signed in solidarity with our youth. It is so important to champion the voices of people especially those who are often marginalized. No response from Carolyn Drblik, the library board president.
The library continues to bleed
You may recall that beloved Executive Director Susan Dove Lempke, after 23 years years of excellent service, was forced to resign in June 2021. By our count, since June 16 staff have resigned. Most recently the last remaining Assistant Director and Business Manager, Greg Pritz, resigned this month due to this toxic library board. Greg shares his perspective as a guest post on Susan Dove Lempke’s blog. The anti-library trustees continue with their own contrived “hiring freeze”, refusing to backfill positions that staff have been begging them to fill and that are already budgeted for.
Trustee board vacancy
After Trustee Olivia Hanusiak resigned in the summer, leaving a seat open for appointment, the board has been deadlocked and the anti-library trustees continue to damage the library through obstructionism. By law they are supposed to fill this seat “forthwith,” or as soon as possible. But there is still no motion to do so on the next agenda.
Meeting lockdowns continue
Carolyn Drblik imposed draconian meeting rules created specifically to stifle public criticism. The Attorney General’s Public Access Bureau has been alerted and are investigating the matter.
What can you do?
And if you’re able to come to the library’s board meeting it’s at 6:30, Wednesday, December 15th at 6960 West Oakton St, Niles IL 60714.
Thanks for reading!