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.


cityside75 said...

I'm not sure how many residents actually come to this site, but for all that do, I urge you to PLEASE read the April 11th issue of the Carol Stream Examiner. Right on the front page you will find that library administrators have been shifting books on the shelves for years in order to make the library look more full. The Examiner has an actual memo from a library administrator blatantly stating that they need to do this to help pass the referendum. They are moving books onto EMPTY shelves, even acknowledging that they are making finding and reaching books more difficult for patrons, all in the name of getting their new library. This is an outrage and I really hope that residents are paying attention to what is happening here. I am voting NO and I hope you do as well!

CSPL Friend said...

Cityside 75,
We have built a rather strong readership with regular visitors to this site, and we are pleased that you have taken time to read the articles and leave a comment. As to the reprehensible article in The Examiner, we have already made protests by phone and e-mail to the publisher for running the irresponsible story in which the writer and editor seemed to abandon every standard of journalistic ethics. I am sure that you noticed that the memos used in the article are over five years old and have absolutely no connection to the 2007 referendum. There were, in fact a few open spaces on the shelves way back in 2002, but I can assure you that there is absolutely no such space in 2007.

You might change your opinion of the article when you know that, unbelievably, 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 old and irrelevant or that they referred to decisions that were totally unrelated to the current referendum campaign. Incredibly, the writer made no effort to solicit a comment from the Library Director or provide an opportunity for her to refute any implications of deception.

Since you seem to be interested in newspapers, I am sure that you also read the corresponding story in the Carol Stream Press that was printed on page 5 in the April 12 edition of the paper. Apparently the same sad individual who foisted the old and irrelevant memos on the Examiner staff also tried to shop the story to the Press. The big difference is that David Heitz, the Press reporter, had the good journalistic integrity to contact the Library Director before running any type of story. After hearing the facts, he made the intelligent decision not to print the documents or give them any credence. He sums up the claims in a brief final paragraph and properly gives the Library Director a chance to refute the unfounded allegations. I am sure you will agree that this was the responsible and ethical way to deal with old news that has no bearing on the current ballot issue.

It is, of course, your right to vote against the referendum, but I hope that you do so for valid reasons and not because of the disingenuous arguments that some writers have made. One writer, for example, makes repeated analogies to the Schaumburg Library and wonders why the people of that village could manage to build their library at a lower cost. The problem, of course, is that their project was built 10 YEARS AGO when the cost of construction and materials were all lower than they are today. One writer suggested that the library be built in a reconverted warehouse without acknowledging any of the structural or zoning obstacles to such a suggestion or the unsuitability of placing a public library in the middle of an industrial zone. Exaggerations and false statements abound. One writer made the claim that the library spends “millions of dollars” on magazines and periodicals, when he could easily have gone to the library to learn that the actual figure is just over $17,000. Huge difference. Perhaps the most outrageous statement was in a letter in the April 12 issue of the Press in which the writer bemoans the fact that a large percentage of the library budget is “wasted” on salaries. Does the writer actually believe that paying for the services of trained library professionals and valuable support staff is "wasting" taxpayer money? Does he not know that the biggest single item in the budget of any organization is the one dealing with salaries and benefits, many of which are mandated by law?

Again, we are glad that you have joined us in this forum. I encourage you to go back and read the article that you cite in your message. Look at the piece objectively and with an eye to standard journalistic ethics and practices. You might well come to the same conclusion that many residents have already reached—it is an irresponsible article that is deservedly receiving expressions of condemnation and disdain. We think the good people of Carol Stream deserve better.

Peggy said...

I will be voting "YES" for the library referendum on April 17th. Walk into the library and you immediately KNOW that there is no need to fake overcrowding. The town of Carol Stream has grown in the past 30 years, and our library needs to do the same.

EKitchener said...

I agree 100 percent with Peggy. If you do read the April 11 issue of the Examiner, however, please note that the memos quoted are four and five years old. As anyone who has been inside the building in the past five years can see, the library’s collection has grown to the point that there are very few empty shelves left. There is no reason to “make the library look more full.” IT IS FULL. The original design was meant to house approximately 125,000 items; there are currently close to 200,000 items crammed into that space. What makes Cityside75 think that the village of Carol Stream can wait any longer to build a library to accommodate this growing collection? By the way, if you do read the April 11 Examiner, please read beyond the front page to find all the letters of support for the library.

Library Lady said...

How can the library be practicing deception when the memos in question clearly state that the shelving arrangement is being changed to "(1) make room for the collection and (2) make the Library look as crowded as it really is?" The tops of the bookshelves were removed so all of the shelves could be shifted up allowing the very bottom shelf, unusable in the past, to be used. This isn't deception! This is the staff trying to use every inch of available space to help house the Library collection.

And remember, this was 4-5 years ago. How much more crowded has the Library become since then? Last I looked in the Children's Department, they are putting books on top of the bookshelves in some spots because there is no more room.

Anyone who visits the Library can see that the shelves are packed. Get the facts, something the Examiner failed to do before publishing this article. The only deception here is from the people trying to make us believe a new Library is not needed by our community.

I'll be voting yes on April 17th and I hope everyone else reading this post will too!