And the library responds...

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

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Dear Ms. Williams,

Thank you for your email to the Oak Park Library Board of Trustees regarding the Main Library Lobby project. On behalf of the board, I would like to address your concerns.

Ten years ago, when the Main Library opened, we began to hear from the community that the lobby space was lacking. Many asked for a more inviting space. The library responded by adding seating and more book displays. The Idea Box opened last year to improve entry to the Main Library, enhance core library services, and create a dynamic experience for visitors. We have continued to discuss further improvements to customer service, traffic flow, and directional information.

The Main Library Lobby was initially designed for people to move through. Ten years later, we know that people are using the library differently, and this project is the latest evolution of the lobby space. We hope to create a space that engages visitors and improves customer service. We also want to include additional, upgraded self-checkouts that can be used to pay fines, space for participatory activities, better traffic flow, and flexibility to respond to changing community needs in the future.

Knowing that the Main Library Lobby needed to evolve to address concerns, the library has saved some of its revenue over the past 10 years and planned ahead for repairs and upgrades to the building. After years of careful consideration, the board voted unanimously at last night's meeting to move forward with the Main Library Lobby project.

About 5.5 percent of the property tax bill paid by an Oak Park property owner goes to the Oak Park Public Library. We strive for the highest levels of efficiency with these finite financial resources. The library's 2012 budget is on the web at The approved 2013 budget will also be posted in the near future.

Again, thank you for contacting the library's board of trustees with your concerns. We welcome feedback from our visitors and taxpayers as we work to create the best possible library for Oak Park.

Should you wish to express your concerns in person, we allocate a segment of each of our board meetings for public comment. Our next board meeting is Dec. 20 in the Main Library at 7:30.

Lane Hart

President, Oak Park Public Library Board of Trustees


Reader Comments

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Mary Rodrigo from Oak Park  

Posted: December 10th, 2012 1:23 PM

I appreciate your concern about library patrons wish to improve the library lobby. Perhaps smaller changes can be made without incurring a $300,000. pricetag. I love the library, but, I absolutely loathe the tax load government bodies have placed on us as taxpayers. What good is the lobby if I can't afford to live here anymore. Please listen to all of us!


Posted: December 9th, 2012 10:11 AM

Dear Lane S. Hart: your term is up in 2015: I will be voting for anyone but you. for all 2013 candidates, say you against this silly spend and I will vote for you, say your for it and i will vote against you.

Brian from Oak Park  

Posted: December 6th, 2012 10:34 AM

For unfunded pension liability by tax district go to, then open the additional resources .pdf files near the bottom.

Brian from Oak Park  

Posted: December 6th, 2012 10:31 AM

Maria Pappas published tax district figures in 2011. The Library didn't report. The other five districts (Village, Township, parks, and Schools) had unfunded liabilities of $107,020,515. The Village alone was over $95 million. Ouch.

What he's not saying...  

Posted: December 5th, 2012 4:35 PM

From link: library's vanity project = %6.53 tax levy increase. ~3/4 of budget goes towards personnel and the library pays more in pensions that it does for books. Let's hope this efficient new layout and selfserve checkout allows some staff cuts.

Done from Oak Park  

Posted: December 5th, 2012 10:16 AM

Does anyone from the library care to disclose how much of an unfunded pension liability it has on its' books? I'll be holding my breath waiting for an answer that I'm sure will be quick to be posted.

Done from Oak Park  

Posted: December 5th, 2012 10:11 AM

Another shining example of Oak Park's leadership opening their ears to the voices of the community. Not.

Brian from Oak Park  

Posted: December 5th, 2012 9:28 AM

Though nice, please stop and reduce your percent of taxes. Local pension funding for schools is the next shoe to drop and until that's understood, please stop spending. Take an inter-governmental approach to the tax burden, please.

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