PSAT for 10/25: Help save Chicago libraries

For many children in Chicago, the public library is the only source outside of school for internet work, adult after school attention, and actual books. Citywide, 164 public schools — nearly 1 in 4 elementary schools and 51 high schools — do not have standalone libraries. Yet our “It’s for the kids” mayor has declared it necessary to radically cut the only library resource in many communities.

This action request was passed on from a friend:

  Please Act Immediately, Call your Alderman and Sign the Petition, link is below. PLEASE distribute this email to everyone you know that cares about the Chicago Public Library!  The vote is coming up very soon, we have to act now.

Rahm’s 2012 Budget Slashes Library Staffing and Hours. In fact, although the Libraries account for only 3% of the City Budget they are being asked to absorb over 70% of the personnel cuts, on top of cuts that were made two years ago.


Chicagoans of all ages check out some 10 million items a year from 78 locations serving each neighborhood.

Job searchers and other computer users utilize over 3.5 million free Internet sessions each year.  Nearly 60% of computer questions for reference librarians and CyberNavigators are from adults seeking assistance with job searches and employment services.

Over 50,000 children keep up their reading skills by reading over one million books every summer as part of the Chicago Public Library’s annual Summer Reading Program.

Thousands of children enjoy and benefit from early childhood literacy activities in Chicago’s libraries, and many more visit these same libraries after school, in the evenings, and on weekends for homework assistance from trained librarians and certified teachers.

Each year the Chicago Public Library is used heavily by college students, career changers, adult learners, professionals, working adults, and people who simply want to read a bestseller, participate in a book club, enjoy a cultural program, use a free museum pass, attend a class on financial literacy, or receive free computer training.

Thousands of families visit the library each day for books, homework support, reader’s advisory, referral services, story times, concerts, puppet shows, music concerts, craft times, book clubs, and other cultural, educational, and literacy-related activities.

The branches of the Chicago Public Library are essential anchors within each community, a place beyond school, workplace, and home where neighbors and people of all ages can connect to each other and seek out new growth and opportunities.   The library is a resource that all people can use and enjoy, especially in hard times.

Your Alderman and the Mayor must decide whether the Chicago Public Library will remain a world class institution, continuing to serve as the heartbeat of local communities, or whether it will become a shell of its former self, a self-service lending library with a few computers, perhaps, but not much else.

The most helpful thing you can do to save the library is to contact your Alderman today to let him or her know that you value library services and insist that the City of Chicago fully fund the Chicago Public Library.

For you convenience, the following link will help you find your Alderman’s contact information:

You are also encouraged to sign an online petition at:

UPDATE: Public Hearing on the Mayor's Proposed Budget is set for November 2nd.  City Council Hearing starts at 10 a.m. with public comment to follow.  The Budget Vote is on November 16th.


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About the PURE Thoughts blogger
Julie Woestehoff is PURE's executive director. Julie's work has earned her a Ford Foundation award and recognition as one of the 100 Most Powerful Women in Chicago.