Guest Essay: Library not a political pawn
Elmwood Park Elm Leaves
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Updated: November 26, 2012 6:44AM
As a current Library Board Trustee in the village of Elmwood Park, I was disappointed but somehow not surprised when a political candidate addressed the Elmwood Park Village Board at the Oct. 15 board meeting. During the public comment portion of the meeting, it was erroneously stated that the village “cut” funding to the library, which supposedly adversely affected the library’s ability to offer programs to the youth of our community, a claim that was apparently not only politically motivated, but also untrue.
When the library submitted its 2013 budget for approval earlier this year to the village of Elmwood Park, the library sought a similar levy amount as compared to 2012, with a request for an increase in funding. A major purpose of the increase was to cover the cost of adding an Outreach Services Department to the library. Due to the fact that another department of the library would require the addition of a new full-time employment position during a period of fiscal constraints, the village asked the Library Board to revise their proposed 2013 budget and re-submit the budget request.
The final approved figures still yielded an increase that will help cover the cost of a new RFID system, an improvement necessary to bring our library to today’s standards in library technology. An increase in the library’s budget is not a “cut.”
The misstatement about the library budget is not, however, what pushed me to pen this.
What bothers me is the fact that this candidate stated that the library did not have enough funding to adequately offer services and programs to the youth of our community.
As a town, all of our residents should be proud of our library and the staff. Many residents do not realize the scope of activities that the library has to offer to residents of all ages, especially to those under 18 years of age. The month of September alone yielded more than 17,000 library visits. Furthermore, 36 children’s and 22 young adult programs took place, with attendance by 517 kids and 135 young adults respectively. Over time, the library has actually increased programs, not “cut” them, as was wrongly stated. The library staff has also started to hold events at various locations throughout town, such as book discussions and trivia nights at local businesses in order to better reach out to the people of the community.
I encourage residents to stop in at the Elmwood Park Library at any time to tour the facility and speak with the staff in regards to the various activities that an entire family can participate in. I can confidently state that our library satisfies the needs of my family and I know it will satisfy yours as well.