Saturday, April 14, 2007

Irresponsible Journalism

With the election just a few days away, we had originally thought that our final post before election day would simply be a short reminder to contact your friends and neighbors to urge them to get to the polling stations. Unfortunately, we find ourselves once again having to take time to address another egregious attempt to distort the facts of the library referendum. Over the past several weeks, many good citizens of Carol Stream have risen up against opponents who have tried to foist inaccurate, outdated, or exaggerated claims about the library proposal on the public. These supporters have written countless letters to the local papers and have provided the accurate statistics and background information that the voters deserve. On April 11, an unexpected and deplorable new development has forced us to redouble our efforts to inform the public. Sadly, this challenge came from The Examiner, a community newspaper that purports to inform and serve the public.

Breach of Journalistic Ethics: If you are like most Carol Stream residents, you were probably filled with anger and disgust if you read a story printed on April 11 that employed two old and irrelevant internal memos to allege deception on the part of the library staff. Incredibly, no one from The Examiner made any attempt to contact the Library Director to verify if the memos were authentic or if they had been obtained legally. The writer makes no effort to point out that the memos were between four and five years old or that they referred to decisions that were totally unrelated to the current referendum campaign. Further, the writer made no effort to solicit a comment from the Library Director or to provide an opportunity for her to refute the unfounded allegations. Couple these facts with an article title that suggests deception and suspicious timing just days before the election, and it is easy to see why so many angry readers believe that the actions of the writer and editor at The Examiner ran contrary to virtually every established standard of journalistic ethics.

Curiously, the slogan on the newspaper’s masthead reads, “If I were to choose between a government without a newspaper or a newspaper without a government, I would not hesitate to choose the latter.” We feel that the words are as meaningful today as they were when Jefferson wrote them, but the implication, of course, is that the newspaper elects to adhere to the ethical standards that the public has reason to expect. If the publishers of the paper do not, then the publication is literally not worth the paper on which it is printed. The good citizens of Carol Stream expect and deserve better.

What Can You Do?: We feel that the best way to deal with this deplorable article is to use it as additional motivation to communicate with as many residents as you can in these final days. If people inquire about the article, call attention to the irresponsible reporting and reinforce the many valid reasons for a YES vote for a new library. Renew your efforts to call or e-mail your friends and neighbors, and urge them to extend your efforts by contacting five or ten more people. If you wish, forward this blog post on to others and encourage them to read the long list of articles on this site. If anybody doubts the notion that the shelves and public spaces are filled beyond capacity, please encourage them to visit the library this weekend so that they can see for themselves the overcrowded conditions that have caused so many residents to support the proposal for a larger and more modern facility.

We thank everyone who has shown support for this important issue, and we are confident that, with your help in the next few days, we can achieve our vision of a new library for Carol Stream.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Putting the Final Pieces in Place

The election is just a few days away now, and over the past several months, we have tried to share the facts about the library referendum and our vision for the many ways that a new library will benefit the residents of Carol Stream. We have posted many detailed articles on this site, distributed lawn signs to promote the cause, encouraged residents to write letters to the local newspapers, and mailed flyers filled with pertinent information for voters. We know that the support for a new library is growing throughout the village, but it is now time to put the final pieces in place to assure a winning vote on April 17.

The next few days will be critical in our effort to realize the dream of a new library, and we will need the help of every resident who supports the issue. Here are some ways that you can help to make it happen:

Phone Calls: Members of the Referendum Committee have already made plans to contact a large number of Carol Stream residents, but they do not have the means to phone every potential voter. The simplest and most effective way for people to help the cause is to call every friend or neighbor you can reach and urge them to get to the polls next Tuesday and vote YES on the library issue. Better yet—ask each person you contact to do the same and call five or ten of their Carol Stream friends.

Door-to-Door: If possible, take a few minutes this weekend to walk up and down your street and talk to your neighbors about the importance of a new library. If you sense that some people you speak with are undecided, you could share the address of this Friends website with them or suggest that they study the materials available by clicking the “New Building Referendum” link on the Carol Stream Public Library site. It is very important that voters have access to accurate information and statistics so that they are not misled by the many false or deceptive claims that some opponents have raised in newspaper letters or on flyers.

School or Church: This is the time to be sure that all of the Carol Stream residents in your church congregation or school PTA know the facts about the library issue. Parents with school age children are likely to be interested in all of the additional resources, computers, reading programs, and other special activities that will all be possible with a new and modern library. Please talk to as many people as you can in the next few days and stress the importance of every vote.

On April 7, a large group of dedicated library supporters braved the cold as they took a “Hike to the Site” to raise awareness for the cause. We feel that support for the library issue has clearly been building in the past several weeks, but there is no doubt that the election will be close. We cannot afford to be complacent in these final days. Please help us by making every effort that you can to inform people about the library referendum and by urging them to vote YES. Remind them that their modest investment of about 30 cents a day or a couple of dollars a week will go further than they imagine as they realize all of the benefits that a modern library will bring to their families and to their community.

Friday, April 6, 2007

More Letters of Support

A few days ago, we included some excerpts from letters in support of a new library in Carol Stream that were printed in several of the local newspapers. In the short time since then, a stream of new letters have been printed and we thought it would be useful to include some more excerpts here as a service to those readers who might not have seen them in the papers. We are very pleased to hear that the support for the library proposal seems to be growing, and we hear very positive opinions about the proposal from residents in the village. Look at what some or your friends or neighbors have to say:

“Because of the storage space problem, it seems to me that the library staff is in a no-win situation. On the one hand, they could simply choose not to buy any new materials because no shelf space remains, but if they choose that strategy, the collection will simply get more dated and less useful as time goes by. On the other hand, if they are forced to continue to discard good materials to make room for newer items, they weaken the overall collection they have worked so hard to build. When I see all the shelves everywhere in the central part of the building, it is hard to remember what the library looked like not so many years ago when there were actually enough tables and chairs for people who wanted to stay and work or read. I plan to vote for a new library.”
- Cynthia Green

“I think we have a responsibility as a community to make sure that some basic resources are available to the people who need them. I cannot ignore the many challenges the workers at our library are facing and the inconveniences patrons must put up with just to save a few dollars a month on my tax bill. The library tax rate has not been raised since 1985. Having served as the Library Director, I am witness to the fact that the Board of Trustees does not waste our money or plan extravagant projects. The current library building has served us well. We need to face the fact that we have outgrown that building, and it’s time to look to the future. Carol Stream needs a new Library. Join me in voting YES on April 17.”
- Lynn O’Dell

“Without a new building, the library will have no choice but to reallocate the meeting room for the collection and eliminate programming for children. Library story times are a vital substitute for many children’s preschool experience, sometimes for financial reasons. Do we really want to live in a community where story times are not available for everyone? The library already withdraws one book for every new one added. Without a new building, the collection will suffer as well. In these days when people pay a lot more than 30 cents a day for a cup of coffee, isn’t that a small price to pay to ensure that quality educational services are available to everyone in Carol Stream? Join me and vote YES for the Carol Stream Library referendum.”
- Amy Teske

“During a Candidates Night, the library issue was one of the key topics discussed. The first speaker was former Library Director Lynn O’Dell, and it was clear from the audience response that attendees were impressed with her presentation in which she outlined the need for a new library. Next up were the two mayoral candidates, and when asked if they supported the library referendum, both men made it clear they support the proposal to build a new library. I feel that this is important information for Carol Stream residents. These candidates are long-time residents of our village who have taken time to research the issue and to analyze both the benefits and the financial implications associated with building a new library. It is quite significant that both mayoral candidates have concluded that this is an important endeavor needed to serve the needs of the people of Carol Stream.”
- Ellen Marchessault

“A library is a key resource within a healthy community. Our population in 1977, when the library was first built, was 9,640. Already 30 years later, we have grown to more than 40,000 residents. We have quadrupled in size and have naturally outgrown the present facility. Choose to move forward toward growth and prosperity for a vital community. Please come out to vote on April 17th and consider voting YES for our library and our community.”
- Rose Calkins

“The need for a new, more technologically advanced and bigger facility will not go away. We have one of the largest populations in DuPage County and one of the smallest libraries. More than 60 percent of our citizens have library cards, so a library as small as ours does not make sense. Don’t the citizens of Carol Stream want life-long learning for all its citizens? Nobody likes more taxes. However, I know a new library will better the lives of all Carol Stream citizens and I can look beyond my own needs to help all who live in our village. Won't you join me and vote YES for the Carol Stream library referendum?”
- Barb Siegman

“A library is not meant to house only new items; it is designed to provide the public with a large collection suited for any taste. I have found myself shopping online and visiting other area libraries more often. It is a shame I have to spend hundreds of dollars every year to read books I used to have access to for free. It is even more ridiculous I have to drive past the Carol Stream Public Library to borrow DVDs from another library’s collection. For little more than $9 a month, the residents of Carol Stream can build a new library; this is the equivalent of the average price of a single paperback book. A small price to pay when you consider how much you spend at Blockbuster, Best Buy or Borders in a given year. The time for a new building is now, not next year or two years from now, when construction costs have increased and the library’s collection has dwindled even more. I will be voting YES for the library referendum April 17, and I hope you will too.”
- Leslie Shambo

“YES, I'm anti-tax. But our Library has been run and is run by one of the most frugal-minded groups that I've ever had the pleasure of working with. Trust me -- THERE'S NOTHING LEFT TO CUT. This referendum is necessary. I urge your consideration, and request that you pass this along to any Carol Stream residents that you know.”
- Laura Pollastrini

Now that the election is just over a week away, the best thing you can do now is get in touch with all of your friends and neighbors and encourage them to get out and vote. If people have questions or need more information, please direct them to this site and to the referendum section of the Carol Stream Public Library site.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Hike to the Site

We are pleased to announce that a special event called the “Hike to the Site” has been scheduled for Saturday, April 7, 2007. The event is designed to inform the residents of Carol Stream about the proposal to build a new library that is on the April 17 ballot and to let them see the site on which the new library would be built. We know that many people have probably driven past the property on Kuhn Road many times over the years without ever really taking time to look carefully at the location. This will be a great opportunity to walk around the grounds and visualize where the building will be situated.

The hike will begin at 1:00 p.m. in the parking lot in front of the current library building at 616 Hiawatha Drive. Walkers will proceed west on Illini Avenue to Aztec Drive, turn south to Thunderbird, west to Kuhn Road, and finally north to the site adjacent to the Carol Stream Community Education Center. If you would like to participate in this community awareness event, please join us from the beginning or feel free to jump in at any point along the route.

All residents are invited to join the hike, especially those people who might have questions about the referendum or who are looking for more information about this important issue on the ballot. There will be crafts for the children as well as refreshments for all when we reach the library site. We have scheduled some short presentations and a variety of printed materials about the new library will be distributed. Pass the word along to your friends and neighbors and join us for what we know will be an enjoyable afternoon.