Letters: “Let the Library Fall”

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Let the Library Fall 

To begin, I wish to clearly express that I value our library, the Maywood Public Library, and I do periodically patronize our library. I believe it is an invaluable asset to our community. While I did not grow up in Maywood, I can recall growing up with the Skokie Public Library as an integral part of my life. I have fond memories of spending Monday through Friday, 9am to noon during every summer break from third grade through my middle school years in the library. It was a deal made with my parents.

Although it later became unnecessary, at first, the promise of a Friday lunch at McDonald’s or Burger King was enough motivation to agree. Also, for a grade-schooler, the seemingly inexhaustible plethora of summer hours could be purchased easily at wholesale prices. My parent got off pretty cheap, too. A fast-food meal was a small price to pay to ensure productive summers for their children. Anyway, the public pool didn’t open ‘til noon so what else was I going to do? Sleep? So for three hours each day, I was to read any book(s) that I wanted, but I had to write a book report after each book. I read every non-fiction and fiction book on “fishing” in the children’s library plus most in the adult library, and then wrote just as many reports.–

However, as a happy-go-lucky child, I never cared to ask, “How was such a valuable resource afforded to me and to anyone else who would care to partake?” So logically, I never bothered to consider the question’s answer either. So now, in light of the recent news coming from our library’s board, I am provoked to attend to this question that has been neglected these thirty and more years. The question again: How was such a valuable resource afforded to me and to anyone else who would care to partake?

My answer:  Responsible adults who diligently managed, vigilantly protected, and sacrificially resourced the public assets afforded to me all of their quality benefits – excellent public schools, excellent public parks and pools, excellent public services, and yes an excellent multiple award-winning (then and even more awards won since) public library.

So it might surprise you to hear that I am personally opposed to any and all bail out measures of ANY KIND for the Maywood Public Library or any other public entity like it at the local, state, or national level. HOW could I deny to our community (especially our young people) the types of amenities which have been of such great value to me?

Maywood residents are steeped in a municipality with a tremendous level of socio-economical and socio-political dysfunction. Most everyone (both within and without) has seen with their own eyes the symptoms of some massive systemic failure. (Sadly, Maywood is a microcosm of the whole nation, but I’ll let someone else elaborate on that).

Maywood is in critical condition but is refusing life-saving treatment; instead she continues forward as if unable to veer off the “death march”.  All this to say that if Maywood insists (by her actions, her inaction, her indecisiveness, chronic dysfunction, whatever) on staying this foolish course, the future generations of this community (our children and our future leaders) are not well-served when they see this generation spared from their logical rewards and corollaries.

When they, the future generations, consider the tragedy that we have invited upon ourselves through our mismanagement, selfish gain, partisanship, and incompetence, perhaps a bitter reminder will quickly surface in their collective memories – a skeletal façade once called “the library” (or any number of other such monuments like the “widow’s home,” the “baptist home,” maybe even “the masonic temple,” too, as well as others) – and they will say to themselves, “We WILL NOT DO as our fathers and mothers have done; we WILL LEARN from their foolishness, and we WILL BE WISE; WE WILL DO BETTER!

For the sake of our progeny, I say. “Let the library fall!” I don’t want to waste any more expensive and precious band aids. Let the library’s demise be forever a monument of us, a memorial to our children. Let them remember us as those fathers and mothers who left them with less than we were given by our parents.

So again, I will reiterate, I am personally opposed to any and all bail out measures of ANY KIND for the library or any other public entity like it at the local, state, or national level, until the library or any public entity like it thoroughly cleans house.

John Yi, citizen and neighbor

4 thoughts on “Letters: “Let the Library Fall”

  1. Ms. Weathers, you hope that I don’t get my wish – that the library and all public entities like it would thoroughly clean house? Instead you’d like to see the same diseased system limp along in perpetuity? And you’d like “adults” to continue to do a disservice to our community (but especially children) by not “diligently managing, ” not “vigilantly protecting,” and not “sacrificially resourcing” public assets and amenities?

    or…

    did you miss the point?

  2. John, a truly thoughtful op ed. I don’t think the library is any longer a real library. Books are torn apart, pages are missing, Vital historical records that were maintained in the library have been stolen, etc. Being an educator, in theory I would never like to see a library cease to exist; but in this particular instance, unless the library can come back as a true library, it is hard to make the case that it should be rescued from the many years of gross mis-management when there are so many other pressing issues facing the Village financially. And I also am in total agreement that Maywood cannot stay the course it is on and survive, but I fear too many other residents, who, for whatever their reasons, be it ignorance, selfishness,arrogance, or others that are unfathomable to me, will continue to drag the town down and it will never recover.

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