Email List Save Niles Library

[EMAIL] We Knew This Was Coming

The lessons we’re learning from the #SaveNilesLibrary campaign have been informing the organizational structure of the Niles Coalition. We’ve been networking and making so many new friends. We’re excited to connect with so many of you. Another world is possible, we just know it!

#SaveNilesLibrary Update

As you know, our cherished Niles-Maine District Library was taken over by an anti-library bloc of trustees: Carolyn Drblik, Olivia Hanusiak, Suzanne Schoenfeldt, & Joe Makula. Their heartless attitude toward the library staff and patrons is such a cruel and shameful display that is causing so much anguish in our community. But we continue to bear witness during meeting after intolerable meeting.

🏆 Ok, first of all, the community really SHOWED UP when we asked for y’all to send letters to reject the Steven Yasell corrupt contract. The Mayor of Niles was compelled to make a public comment at the June 16th library board meeting to plead with the board to work together. He cited the over 150 emails, text messages, and phone calls. The situation is ongoing but congratulations and thank you!

🌟 Secondly and even bigger news is that the employees of Niles-Maine District Library are organizing their union with AFSCME Council 31! Through the tireless efforts of library workers and allies they accomplished this amazing feat in such a short time frame. We were honored to sign on as a supporter of this effort to secure worker rights! We hope this helps protect them from the brunt of the wrecking ball but we aren’t slowing down to find out!

🕊 Unfortunately, through all these wins, the anti-library bloc confirmed one of our worst suspicions on the night of June 18th, 2021. After an unprecedented 4-hour closed executive session while desperate library workers waited and waited, the board forced the resignation of beloved Executive Director Susan Dove Lempke. (video) The impact upon the community is devastating.

📄 You can always read out blog post updates at our campaign page at Two new blog posts have been published recently:

📢 What’s next you ask? We have been inundated with requests for action. We hear you and we will be reaching out with specific opportunities. For one, the Niles 4th of July parade is coming up and we want to get as many people as possible along the route wearing buttons, stickers, building awareness, and cheering on the librarians. Specific details about that and future actions will be sent soon. Please stay tuned!

In Solidarity,

Niles Coalition

PS- here are some signs you can print out and put in your windows! Sign, Sign, Color

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Email List Save Niles Library

[EMAIL] Niles Coalition Progress & #SaveNilesLibrary Action Alert

We’re so excited about all of the support and interest from those of you in the community who’ve signed up for our NilesCoalition mailing list! If you want to be more involved in where we focus our attention as a group please let us know so we can set up a time to meet before our next big meeting. Just respond to this email and we’ll be in touch!

We also have two actions you can take as we work together to #SaveNilesLibrary:

  1. ✉️ While our public comments and letters to library board trustees have been making a difference, the fight is far from over. The new trustees are awarding their campaign videographer access to the library systems for $100 an hour. This blatant corruption must be challenged. Please take a few minutes to contribute to this letter-writing campaign and put the board on notice! We have a handy lil’ easy-peasy tool right here for you:
  2. 🗣 If you’re able to submit a written comment by 5:30 pm on the day of a meeting or make a comment in-person at any of the upcoming library budget workshops this Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday at the library that will be a great way to make sure your voice is heard! Here’s the information about those meetings so you can see which day will cover subjects that you want to comment about (for example, Digital Services and Materials Services on Wednesday; Adult, Teen, Youth, and Outreach Services on Thursday): . If you have any questions about how to do this just email us and we can help!

One of our community’s most cherished resources is in jeopardy, and this is a symptom of larger looming issues. It is time to unite and make a stance for justice!

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Email List Save Niles Library

[EMAIL] #SaveNilesLibrary Update: 5-24-2021 Board Meeting

Hello World!

Bet you’re here to keep tabs on the Niles Coalition’s #SaveNilesLibrary campaign, and that’s SUPER awesome! Thanks for signing up! We formed as a group relatively recently to fight for a more inclusive community here in Niles, Illinois. But the catalyst happened when the Northwest Side Coalition Against Racism and Hate saw community concern after their Open Letter to Niles Police Department.

We’ve learned a LOT since then and are so excited to create a more inclusive community. There are a lot of wonderful efforts happening that are not always apparent. We hope to bring more awareness, celebrate, and double down on these things. The Niles-Maine District Library is definitely on this list.

Now the library is facing an existential crisis. But this is not an isolated incident by any means. The fight is happening in communities all around us as well. Together we will fight for our library and in solidarity we’ll fight for our neighbors’ as well! If you feel the same way and want to get involved in the work please let us know and/or share this message with folks in your network who are allied in the cause.

And now onto our most recent update!

Update: Library Special Board Meeting 5-24-2021

#SaveNilesLibrary Organizer faces the hostile library board speaking truth to power.

Thank you to all of the community members who came out to bear witness to and express their concerns at Monday’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 take a selfie.

  • 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 – archived link here). 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.

A message written in chalk on a wall that reads Save Niles Library .org.

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 this email with friends, family, and other supporters.

Thanks for reading!