Archive for the ‘Advocacy’ Category

Update on System Funding

October 29th, 2010 Comments off

Thanks to all of you that sent in emails supporting library system funding.  Each system will receive some of their monies from last fiscal year in the next few weeks.

Lewis & Clark Library System – $188,015.98

Lincoln Trail Libraries System – $143,273.72

Rolling Prairie Library System – $136,320.00

Shawnee Library System – $248,531.34

Again, thank you all for your continuing support!

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ILA Urges You to Contact the Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and Illinois Comptroller Dan Hynes

October 20th, 2010 Comments off

Take Action Now

Important library services that many Illinoisans take for granted could come to an end as early as this December when library systems run out of money. These systems, which have been running off reserve funding since the beginning of the fiscal year (July 2010-June 2011), will run out of money in December unless the state releases appropriated library system per capita grants. We need your help to release this critically needed funding, and help keep library services operating as expected.

Library systems have not received 47 percent of system funding from the State of Illinois for FY 2010 (July 2009-June 2010) and have not received any system funds for FY 2011 (July 2010-June 2011). Many library systems have discontinued all but a few top priority services and have eliminated large numbers of system staff. A number of systems only have reserve funds to operate through December 2010.

Illinois library systems are critical to library services, annually delivering more than 30 million items, which are loaned to library users statewide. The online catalogs for more than 800 Illinois libraries are operated by the library systems and are used to circulate more than 45 million library resources per year to Illinois residents. Library systems also serve all 102 Illinois counties with Talking Book Program services for residents unable to read conventional print material due to a visual or physical disability.

Illinois library systems are actively engaged in merger negotiations, seeking new ways to reduce costs and continue top priority services. Without the receipt of payments appropriated in the library system per capita grant program, however, library systems that serve all types of libraries and millions of Illinois residents will stop services and close before mergers can be completed.

I am asking for your help in the release of payments to Illinois Library Systems. I will remember your assistance and support on Election Day.

Robert P. Doyle
Illinois Library Association
33 W. Grand Ave., Ste. 301
Chicago, IL 60654
phone: (312) 644-1896
fax: (312) 644-1899

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Librarians Talk with Legislators about Value of Libraries

March 1st, 2010 Comments off

Elaine Steingrubey, director at Morrison-Talbott Public Library, and Erica Pyle, director at Columbia Public Library, and I traveled to the Sparta and Okawville offices of Representative Reitz and Senator Luechtefeld to talk with them about the value of libraries and their importance to the legislators’ constituents.  We also shared with them the SNAPSHOT activities in their libraries and here at the System.  Having those stats and comments made an impression on the legislators in a meaningful way.  Both legislators gave us all the time we wanted and helped us to understand what will need to be done to improve Illinois’s economic climate and repair the damage done to the budget.  I will be booking visits to other LCLS legislators and will be contacting directors to come along.  It was a very enlightening experience for the three of us.

Ways to Make SNAPSHOT DAY a Success

January 26th, 2010 Comments off

The System appreciates your help in commenting on ways that you’ve thought of to make SNAPSHOT DAY a success.  Please use Conduit and its comment feature to share your thoughts with other members.  There is a new ILA website that provides you with all kinds of  forms to promote the day.  To begin with find a way to let your patrons know that you’ll be gathering statistics and asking them to fill out a simple form telling what they need and like about the library.   Tell patrons  that the information will be used to show  local, state, and national officials what today’s libraries look like–you’ll be giving them a snapshot.  OK that leads to another idea–how about taking some pictures of activities and services.  It’s your turn–please comment with your suggestions.

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Researching Communities to Prepare for the Future

January 15th, 2010 Comments off

In 2008-09, the Illinois State Library awarded an LTSA research grant to Lewis & Clark Library System to learn not what a library thought it needed for its community, but rather, to learn what a community needed from its library. The results were fascinating.

Our Researching Communities to Prepare for the Future study gained in-depth insight from 140+ people in communities across Illinois and discovered what community members expect from libraries over the next few years. Fifteen communities across the state participated in the survey, ranging in size from Oak Park and Palatine to Nokomis and Pinckneyville.

Public libraries provide many important services to local communities and as the economic situation across the country continues to slow, libraries are taking on even more responsibilities.  Libraries have traditionally provided reading material to people of all ages and backgrounds, and they continue to do so. However, they now provide Web access and training in online services, community programming, job hunting assistance, and more. For our study we looked at some service possibilities libraries might provide and asked community members to prioritize what services they would hope to receive from the library.

What did we learn?  That communities need 5 easily obtained things from their library:

The interviewed residents clearly stated that a friendly library staff is a service provided by the library. And that the staff needs to be knowledgeable about the community, the library, and other library services.

The library does not need to be a forest of signs, in fact less is more. But if the library staff is too close to the library’s layout, they don’t always see the library because they already know the library. Also, the participating residents definitely see the library’s Web site as part of the library, not a separate function.

While the interviewees don’t expect the library to stand guard over the children and teenagers using the library, they do expect the library to be a place where children/teenagers are welcomed and treated with respect. Staff should familiarize themselves with both physical and cyber safety, along with the library’s emergency plans.

Patrons of all ages are concerned their library does not offer services and programs for impaired patrons.  Often, 1e found that the interviewed resident didn’t know the services the library was already offering. As with the need for a safe place, refamiliarize staff with serving impaired patrons and promoting the library’s services to all audiences.

Libraries have always been a major cultural leader within communities. Most Carnegie-built library buildings have an auditorium, usually on the upper floor. The Researching Communities study showed that residents continue to want and need their library to be a cultural leader for the community.

To help the participating libraries and all Illinois libraries supply these needs, the research grant also developed continuing education training for individual and/or group use. These courses are a first step in continuous learning for all library staff, helping them meet the needs in the library’s community.

A recent American Libraries article highlights how valuable the Researching Communities study is for the library world. The January/February 2010 issue of American Libraries has a wonderful article that supports the concept we used with Researching Communities, what does the community want. Embracing Change for Continuous Improvement by Peter Hernon and Ellen Altman (page 52+)

Here are some quotes from their article, emphasis is mine:
“This belief needs to be set aside in order to determine what matters the most to customers, and how the knowledge gained can be applied to improve service delivery.”

“Present and potential customers make choices. Ease of use and likelihood of obtaining what is desired play an large part of driving these choices.”

“…customers’ view of library performance on such factors as timeliness, helpfulness, courtesy, reliability and responsiveness.”

We are proud of the public libraries in Illinois and hope you share our pride in the library staff at Illinois libraries. The final report and community reports are posted on WebJunction Illinois. Read through the study–how does your library measure up?

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County Clerks are a Library's Best Friend

December 29th, 2009 Comments off

As you all know, I am a proponent of knowing what information your county clerks have available for libraries. But it has been a while since I last climbed on this soapbox, so with tax levy ordinances being filed by library districts and municipalities now is the perfect time to remind you.

In most states, the office of County Clerk acts as a general location for various county documents. As counties evolved, if no one specifically knew what to do with a piece of information it was given to the County Clerk for safekeeping. Illinois is one of those states.

Your County Clerk is the official keeper of all property tax information, specifically as it impacts libraries –budget & appropriations ordinances for library districts, municipalities, school districts and other taxing bodies within the county. Also on file with the County Clerk are the tax levy ordinances, boring reading but incredibly important to the ongoing existence of libraries.

County Clerk’s also have the information on individual parcels –> who owns them, what taxes are assigned and who paid the taxes. Many libraries contact the County Clerk to verify residency on a specific parcel. The County Clerks’ are working to make this information available via the Internet. Your county will have the information available with a phone call or on their Web site.

Other information housed with the County Clerk concerns Voter Registration. This includes how and where to register, polling places, and voter registration lists. Voter registration lists can be critical when a library is considering any sort of referendum. To gain an idea of the valuable information on the voter registration list, visit Madison County Voter Registration Report.

My personal favorite from the County Clerks’ is the Levy, Valuation and Rate Information they supply to taxing bodies, and anyone who asks. Each County Clerk presents this differently, but the basic information will always be: taxing body, maximum rate allowed, tax fund, levy, actual rate, and the extension. The 2007 Levy, Valuation & Rate Information for Madison is a good example of what all the counties have.

Changes to FOIA and OMA

December 18th, 2009 Comments off

As you know, changes have been made to the State’s Freedom of Information and Open Meetings Acts (FOIA and OMA). These changes go into effect 1 January 2010 with a compliance date of 1 July 2010. Please note additional information on these changes can be found on the LCLS Web site for FOIA, the Attorney General’s FOIA Web site, WebJunction Illinois, among other locations.

Open Meetings Act: Each Public Body must designate a person or persons to receive training on the Open Meetings Act, this is new. Those persons must successfully complete training by July 1, 2010 and their names must be submitted to the Public Access Counselor. Those designated people must annually complete the training program and any new person designated to take training must do so within 30 days after designation.

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA): Each public body must designate a Freedom of Information Officer(s), this is not new. However, what is new is, these officers must successfully complete training developed by the Public Access Counselor by July 1, 2010 and successfully repeat training annually. Any new designated Freedom of Information Officer must complete the training in 30 days.

Other changes:

  • The number of days you have to respond to a FOIA request has been reduced from seven (7) to five (5).
  • The fine for non-compliance has increased.
  • The meaning of a public record has changed. Performance Reviews and other documents in the personnel files can be requested. Private/personal information must be redacted from those documents before they are given to a FOIA requester.
  • There is now an Attorney General’s Public Access Counselor (PAC) office to review denied request and complaints from requestors.
  • There are two instances where the library is required to send information directly to the PAC. The first is when you deny disclosure because it would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy. The second is when the exemption is for “preliminary drafts, notes, recommendations, memoranda and other records in which opinions are expresses, or policies or actions are formulated.” When this happens you must notify the Requester and the PAC of you intent to deny the request.

Under the changes a library must describe their public body and list the types of documents they hold that can be requested. Examples include: organizational chart, library’s purpose, board minutes, etc. To fulfill this requirement, it is suggested the library modify the Freedom of Information model policy found in the Administrative Ready Reference. The Board adopts this policy and posts it; physically and on the Web site. The documents and record information must be posted at the library and also on the library’s Web site. Please note that it does not matter if you do not operate the site or have only part time staff. If there is a library Web site it MUST be posted.

What you need to do?

  1. Read the FOIA information posted on the System’s Web site, and the attached summary from Attorney General’s FOIA/OMA seminars. Thank you to Kathleen Feher for sharing her summary.
  2. Download the new FOIA model policy, modify it for your library and adopt it at your January Board Meeting.
  3. At the January Board meeting appoint your Freedom of Information Officer(s). You need one but having a person as back up is encouraged so that if one is unavailable when a request is made, the library has time to respond. Also designate your Open Meeting Act officer(s). They can be the same person.
  4. Designated FOIA and OMA officers take and successfully complete the appropriate training. The training should be available on or around 1 January 2010. Notify the PAC once the training is completed.
  5. FOIA officer sets up files and internal procedures for handling FOIA request.

Personal Property Replacement Tax

May 14th, 2009 Comments off

Replacement taxes are revenues collected by the state of Illinois and paid to local governments  such as cities, villages, school districts among others, to replace money that was lost by local governments when their powers to impose personal property taxes on corporations, partnerships, and other business entities were taken away in the mid-1970’s.

These taxes resulted when the new Illinois Constitution directed the legislature to abolish business (corporate) personal property taxes and replace the revenue lost by local government units and school districts. In 1979, a law was enacted to provide for statewide taxes to replace the monies lost to local governments – thus the Personal Property Replacement Tax, or the Replacement Tax.

Public libraries existing prior to 1976, and who received a portion of their municipality’s Personal Property Tax, continue to receive their share of the Personal Property Replacement Tax. This includes public libraries which have converted to library district, such as East Alton PLD, and Litchfield PLD.

If the public library or library district did not exist prior to 1976, they do not receive a share of the Replacement Tax. For example, Farmersville-Waggoner PLD and Brighton PL established in the 1980’s so neither library receives a share of the Replacement Taxes.

Illinois Law clearly protects the public library’s portion, see 30 ILCS 115/12 for the complete text,

Any municipality or township, other than a municipality with a population in excess of 500,000, which receives an allocation based in whole or in part on personal property taxes which it levied pursuant to Sections 3‑1, 3‑4 and 3‑6 of the Illinois Local Library Act and which was previously required to be paid over to a public library shall immediately pay over to that library a proportionate share of the personal property tax replacement funds which such municipality or township receives; provided that if such a public library has converted to a library organized under The Illinois Public Library District Act, regardless of whether such conversion has occurred on, after or before January 1, 1988, such proportionate share shall be immediately paid over to the library district which maintains and operates the library. However, any library that has converted prior to January 1, 1988, and which hitherto has not received the personal property tax replacement funds, shall receive such funds commencing on January 1, 1988.

Under state statute, the Illinois Department of Revenue  provides an estimation of the amount of Personal Property Replacement Taxes to be paid for each Fiscal Year.

This is from the Illinois Department of Revenue’s Web site:

Personal Property Replacement Taxes to be allocated for FY 2009 is estimated to be $1,528 million.  This is a decline of 2.1% from FY08’s allocations of $1,561 million.  Replacement tax allocations are estimated to be lower for several reasons, replacement income tax are expected to be flat, invested capital and telecommunication receipts are estimated to decline in FY09.

To see what amounts have been paid to your municipality, check this portion of the Department of Revenue’s Web Site. This information is for Fiscal Year 2008-09, (FY09). Use the Find feature to locate your municipality and learn the estimated amount coming to the municipality.

Librarians Visit Legislators

April 27th, 2009 Comments off

On Thursday, April 23 nineteen System and local library staff members visited with our legislators in Springfield to thank them for their past support of libraries and encourage them to continue that support.  This year we were able to see five of our seven senators and seven of our representatives who were very congenial and took time to listen to us.  The mood in Springfield appears to be realistic-they know the budget is in bad shape but they’re ready to work and make those difficult decisions they’ll have to make.

Included in the SOS budget this year is an increase in public and school per capita grants and equalization grants.  Legislators are well aware how valuable library services are to their constituents and appreciate and will take that request into consideration.

We also discussed with legislators the help that libraries can be in this slow economic climate when people are looking for jobs and need to prepare resumes and make applications many of which must be made online.  In addition we asked that they speak up for libraries in any construction bills and especially in the distribution of the stimulus money coming to Illinois.

If you have not yet done so, please contact your local Illinois legislators and thank them for support telling them what kind of services you provide to their constituents.   Legislators feel strongly that they will complete their work no later than May 31.  This means they’ll be spending time in their local offices.  I’ll be setting up some visits to local offices and ask that you will go with me to those visits.  Summer is also a good time for you to contact your local legislators and invite them to visit your library to see firsthand all that you provide for their constituents.

A song in the key of B safe

April 16th, 2009 Comments off

Mike Hayman and his student singing troupe from Collinsville Middle School created this video about using technology responsibly.  Have look, and share it with the youth in your library (or sing about it, whatever your prefer).

Do we take time to thank supporters?

March 31st, 2009 Comments off

Many of us have been recipients of support from our legislative leaders through per capita grants, LSTA funds(federal dollars but need to be appropriated by the Illinois General Assembly, and discretionary funds directly from legislators.  This support has increased our facilities, programming, and materials collections.
When we get emails asking us to contact legislators–federal or state–do we take the 5 minutes it takes to contact them to be certain they understand the impact of proposed legislation?  I know that I have to tell myself to respond to such requests and I’ll bet many others do too.

While the Illinois state budget is in less than good shape, libraries have gotten support for their efforts through the SOS budget and the help of the Illinois State Library.

On April 23 at Illinois Library Day you and I have the opportunity to be in Springfield to express our gratitude and to make certain legislators know fully the impact of any legislation related to libraries.

Please seriously consider joining us that day, but if you can’t for whatever reason attend Illinois Library Day, please take that 5 minutes to send your legislator a thank you note for past support and ask for continued support.

ALA Distributes Issue Papers

March 30th, 2009 Comments off

Ever at a loss for words when an official questions why the library needs more computers? Or when the school superintendent says the students have the school library, why do they need the public library?

The American Library Association (ALA) has created two wonderful responses for  you to use, Job-seeking in U.S. Public Libraries and Supporting Learners in U.S. Public Libraries about students using library resources.

For years, the ALA Office for Research & Statistics has tracked technology use in public libraries. Their Public Library Funding & Technology Access Study gathers a range of data concerning technology access in U.S. public libraries. The new briefs are based on this study.

Library staff are encouraged to use these papers as educational tools with library boards, mayors and other elected officials, newspaper reporters, among others to highlight the library’s support of the community. Or attach copies to the library’s budget and annual report.

How will you use the informational Issue Papers to support your library?

Economic Crisis LibGuide

March 24th, 2009 Comments off

The Reference Department at the Mitchell Memorial Library, Mississippi State University, has created a LibGuide of resources about the crisis. Be sure to check it frequently over the next few months as they intend to continue updating it as the economic situation evolves.

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2009 ALA Midwinter Meeting – Illinois Chapter Councilor Report

February 6th, 2009 Comments off

Sunday, January 25, 2009

9:00 am – Information Session

Candidates for President Elect:

  • Kenton Oliver, Executive Director, Stark County Dist Library, Ohio
  • Roberta Stevens, Outreach Projects & Partnerships Officer, LC, Washington DC

Illinois Candidates for Councilor at Large:

  • Nanette Donohue, Tech Services Manager, Champaign PL
  • Tracie Hall, Principal Consultant, The GoodSeed Group, Chicago
  • Gail Tobin, Branch Coordinator, Hanover Park Branch, Schaumburg TDL
  • Patricia Hogan, Director, Poplar Creek Library, Streamwood
  • Nann Blaine Hilyard, Director, Zion-Benton PL
  • Al Kagen, U of I African Studies Library, U of I

Voting occurs March 17 – April 24 – completely online (although print ballots are available by request if no Internet access or disability).  Election results will be announced May 1st.

We previewed a cool video on “Being a Councilor.”  This will be on both You Tube and the ALA Web site.

10:00 am – APA Information Session

LSSCP (Library Support Staff Certification Program) – Nancy Bolt reported that it will be taken to ALA- APA Ex Board at the upcoming annual conference.  Expect to begin accepting candidates January 2, 2010.

10:45 am – Council I

Keith M. Fiels – oral report on council transparency.  Governance office currently in process of working with several folks to attempt to develop a master matrix with the costs associated with increased access and electronic participation.  1st draft expected to be ready to discuss with BARC in May in order to be shared with council at the Annual meeting.  Looking at ways to make records of proceedings more widely available.

Monday, January 26, 2009

10:15 am – APA Council

The APA is being restructured to be more integrated in ALA budgetarily.

Standing Committee on the Salaries & Status of Library Workers

  • Fair Pay Act
  • Paycheck Fairness Act

When at annual in Chicago, 2 resolutions will come forward: 1) overtime pay, and 2) outsourcing.

Also at annual, a popular program that was presented in Anaheim will be presented again: Toot Your Horn: Image Building with Donna Cardillo.

1:30 pm – Chapter Relations Committee II

ALA representatives would like to appear at Chapter conferences to hold an ALA forum to assist in formulating “the foci of the next ALA strategic plan.”  I have emailed Dan and Sharon Wiseman, conference co-chairs requesting they respond to Michael Dowling (ALA Chapter Relations) regarding this request.

Aside: Nann Blaine Hilyard suggested that ILSDO put together some type of practical resource for libraries to respond to the Consumer Protection Safety Act.  Emily Sheketoff from the Washington Office suggests not to do anything (other than call those folks in DC – both the acting chair and Tom Moore) regarding books – she strongly expects that library books will be exempted from the Act.  The Act impacts anybody with any product (owned or produced) created for a child under 12.  (see below for a further development on this topic)

April 14th is National Library Workers Day.

The Stimulus – America Recovery Reinvestment Act – is $79 Billion total.  Of that amount, approximately $30 billion will be available to be spent at the discretion of Governors.  Need to lobby for $ coming to the state – probably need to contact Lt Gov Pat Quinn to get him on board now.  Look at what happened in Milwaukee where the mayor kept the public library in $ with police & fire when every other department received a 20% cut.  Mayor stated that the public library is the safety net for the community.

FY2009 Fed budget ready to be passed any day now.  More for LSTA & school improvement.  Obama is interested in the SKILLS Act.

E-government becoming more important.  Public & community college libraries will be called upon for this effort.  Wash Office is producing a tool kit to support the libraries.  Looking for local governments to partner with local libraries.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

9:15 am – Council II

Pat Hogan, Poplar Creek, Streamwood Illinois was elected to the Executive Board.

Major discussion (both council 2 & 3) revolved around electronic member participation; see more at:

Pat Hogan asked if I would initiate a memorial resolution about Jane Shaw for Annual conference.  I agreed to do so.

1:30 Chapter Forum

Chapter councilors are interested in a hosted event/reception in Chicago at annual, open to all councilors not only chapter councilors.  Money collected above what is needed to cover the costs of the event will be donated to the ALA-APA.  Tina will follow up with ILA Chicago office staff to see what kind of venues might be available, and what arrangements might be able to be made.

Discussion revolved around communications – especially when new chapter councilors come on board.  Several documents regarding chapter councilors were handed out.  I will share these with the new chapter councilor when that person has been elected.

6:00 Chapter Councilors Reception – Denver Public Library

The Denver Chapter Councilor made arrangements for a small catered event for chapter councilors.  Councilors paid $25.00 to cover food costs as well as a donation to the Spectrum Scholarship fund.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

8:00 am – Council III

Mention was made that lead and books is being put on hold by the commission while they investigate the issue.  There is no action required of libraries at this time.

All council related information can and, if not already there, will be able to be accessed at

Additional interesting information:

Freedom to Read Foundation will have a 40th anniversary celebration on Sunday July 12 in the Modern Wing of the Art Institute of Chicago see for more information.

Talking Library Value to local government and schools:

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Libraries Value in Tough Economic Times

January 13th, 2009 Comments off

Just got a great link to information on how libraries can let their communities know of services they have to help folks through tough economic times.  While most have seen the video at the link below,  look farther down the page for pieces of a toolkit that can be used to be sure your patrons and your communities know just how valuable you are.

The ALA toolkit contains information on how to work with decision-makers, ways to work with the media, and talking points to help libraries articulate the role of libraries in times of economic downturn. Talking points on the economic value of libraries, with return-on-investment examples; libraries and the economy; and upswings in library usage are included.

I think this information would make a great discussion and look forward to comments on the blog about how libraries are telling their communities about their value.

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