Last week Wednesday Journal published a letter to the editor about the Oak Park Public Library cutting multiple programs attended mainly by seniors. [Cuts in senior programs are disheartening, Viewpoints, Oct. 13] I’m very familiar with these programs and their avid participants and am alarmed about the cuts and the lack of coverage they have received. 

Right now OPPL is in the midst of very news-worthy discussions about its Strategic Priorities and budget. Seeing as 99% of the library’s operating expenses rely on residents’ taxes — constituting 4.8% of each individual’s bill — the direction and budgeting of the library deserve front-and-center coverage in our local news. From what I can tell, these cuts appear to do away with about 20 percent of all adult regular offerings, disproportionately affecting seniors.

The library has attained impressive success in addressing many segments of Oak Park’s population. Unfortunately, seniors do not seem to warrant much attention, despite accounting for 16% of the village’s population (2019 ACS five-year estimates). 

The library board meets on Oct. 26, and I urge Wednesday Journal to cover it in support of transparency. We need to know the answers that the board gives to the four questions it set for itself in July to determine its strategies, namely: 

Do … our four strategic priorities reflect the library’s values and the community’s current aspirations and needs? 

If not … what is missing or needs to be re-envisioned? 

Are there goals and objectives that should be further prioritized as we look toward the future? 

Will serving seniors be part of this conversation?

Barbara Mirel, Oak Park

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