Updated: February 11, 2012 8:12AM
As a Chicago Public School teacher for the past 22 years, I am convinced that shuttering public libraries on Mondays is a disastrous decision that should be reconsidered. Chicago school students need as much time and as many safe places as possible to study and learn. What the mayor and other cost-cutters may not understand is that we have over 10,000 homeless students in Chicago Public Schools. We have many more thousands of students who have places to live but do not have access to computers and a wide range of books beyond the classroom. Public Libraries serve as a first line of defense in a democracy. Rather than limiting library hours, Chicago should be looking to expand them.
TIF money could be used to fund the libraries remaining open on Mondays. After all, TIF districts literally take money from libraries, parks and schools and reallocate the money to a separate fund controlled by the mayor. Additionally, the notion that the librarians’ union is holding up a deal is an insult to those hard-working men and women. The union has consistently argued that the library hours should not be cut. Yes, this is due in part to the fact that the union doesn’t want to see people laid off, but also because it doesn’t want to agree to unnecessary service cuts. The union is advocating for the citizens of Chicago.
If Chicago is to remain a world-class city, it must maintain a world-class library system.
Jay C. Rehak, Lincoln Square
Not that crowded
Don’t get me wrong — I’m a Chicago taxpayer and loyal patron of the public libraries. But now that patrons can download reading materials, order library books online, and return materials to an outdoor bin, what staffing changes has the library system made to respond to the need for fewer “people hours.” Just asking. I sat in a Chicago library one recent morning, and counted fewer than a dozen patrons in an hour. How do libraries measure their effectiveness and return on investment?
Mary Sweeney, Forest Glen
Record to be proud of
Michael Jordan’s son, Jeff, left Central Florida University for “personal reasons.” The Sun-Times article goes on to elaborate on Jeff’s diminished playing time and his low point and assist per game averages. There was no mention in the article of what would make his parents really proud. His projected college graduation date.
Mark S. Ren, Oak Lawn
A two-minute stop at a gasoline pump fills my tank, but empties my wallet.
Raymond F. Stoiber, Joliet