Thursday, July 19, 2012

Upcoming Meetings to Note

From the Rockford Public Library website:

The Executive Committee will meet on Monday, July 23 at 5:30 p.m., followed by the Board of Trustees meeting at 6:00 p.m. in the Friends of RPL Community Room at the East Branch Library.

As of right now, the meeting's agenda has not been posted on the web page.

Also listed on the website is the information about the Sullivan Center Open House. From the website:

From 6:00 - 7:00, enjoy light refreshments and sample programming from Paper Airplane, an acoustic guitar/vocal duo playing an eclectic mix of your favorite songs, Aloha Hula Girls Polynesian Dance Troupe and a viewing of Our City, Our Story with a presentation from the series' producer, Pablo Korona. The public spaces of the building will be available to tour during the first hour as well. From 7:00 - 8:00, attend a community forum led by Paul Logli, President of the Rockford Public Library Board of Trustees. Logli will outline the Board's vision of the Sullivan Center as a library programming space and an arts and cultural center for the community. We look forward to sharing our thoughts on how the Library could serve as a steward of this wonderful resource and hope you will join us for the discussion.

SOL urges the public to attend and to ask questions or raise any concerns anyone may have about the possible acquisition of the Sullivan Center.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Library Leaders Want Public Input on the Sullivan Center

Apologies for the lapse in posting on this blog. Looking at this month's meetings a month ago, it was listed that the annual meeting was being held on June 18 at Franchesco's. Checking back a couple weeks later and it was still listed as such. Then yesterday's Rockford Register Star ran a story about how library leaders want public input on the Sullivan Center. Apparently the meeting was changed from Franchesco's on the 18th to the 25th at the East Branch. I'm not sure when the switch was made and though it's great that they changed it to a more appropriate day and time, it was confusing to those who wanted to go but saw the previous (incorrect) information. If anyone has information about the meeting day/time switch, please email .

A few words on the article--it's wonderful that the library board is seeking public input on the Sullivan Center before proceeding. SOL sees it as a victory that the message of seeking public input before making major library-altering decisions has resonated with the board. The board's new consciousness about the necessity of asking what the public wants and needs is exactly why SOL now stands for Support Our Public Library. Hearing that Rock River's lease was also renewed is another victory, considering it was slated to close, but the outcry was loud enough to make board members reconsider the decision. In these instances, the board is listening to the voices of the community and SOL thanks them for doing so.

Now for a word on the Sullivan Center, Mr. Logli is quoted in the Rockford Register Star article as saying, “I understand there is some concern that program numbers are down. It seems whatever we can do to improve the setting for programs and the type and variety of programs would be just what we need to bring those numbers back up.” It is certainly true that the programming numbers have dropped significantly. The problem with programming is not where the programs are held or necessarily the type of programs being offered, but the unfortunate cease of printed programming advertisements. There are no more paper Explorers and no programming fliers available for patrons to take home--to inform them of upcoming programs and to act as reminders. For patrons who do not have computer access at home--a significant portion of the population--they cannot learn about programs unless they are at the library logged into the digital Explorer in the bottom corner of the library's website. Can you guess how low the computer class attendance is? The real reason for the drop in programming numbers needs to be brought to the attention of the library board. SOL will make sure to check in about July's meeting days and times and post them on this blog. We'll need a strong showing at the next meeting to thank the board for the work they are doing, but also to address these programming concerns.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

SOL supports RPL

Today Rockford Public Library began circulating Kindles today and SOL has been asked to comment.

SOL supports RPL's decision to circulate this small number of Kindles as described in the above linked story-- as a "soft launch" to test circulation policies and get feedback from patrons. Having e-readers that patrons can check out does help bridge the digital divide and help patrons access RPL's large e-book collection (some of which are not available in print format).

SOL is hopeful that in the upcoming months, the RPL board and administration will listen to patron feedback about the circulating e-readers. There are some concerns that Kindles are the wrong e-reader since one major publisher does not allow libraries to lend on these devices, but does on others such as the Nook. Others are concerned that an e-reader is too fragile and breakable to even circulate at all. As long as the circulation of e-readers is done slowly and thoughtfully (and is not done to justify a further increase in the e-book budget) this "soft launch" could mark a positive future for the Rockford Public Library and its commitment to serving the community's needs.

As spoken of previously, this site (though the domain will stay the same) is now called Support Our Rockford Library as we hope to move forward working to support RPL and its endeavors.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Meetings this month

From the RPL website...

The Financial Planning and Properties Committee is scheduled to meet on Wednesday, May 16 at 11:45 a.m. in the Friends of RPL Community Room at the East Branch Library.

We hope everyone can make it.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The last Board Meeting

There is a nice guest column in the Rock River Times by Mike Korn this week that sums up what happened at the April 23 library board meeting. The comment about the examples given for weeded books was well put. After the meeting, a used book seller said that she bought a fairly new beautiful set of Shakespeare books at the used book sale that looked like they had never been checked out. She mentioned that just because a book hasn't been circulated, does not mean it has not been pulled off the shelf and used. The focus on all the outdated medical textbooks made the outcry about the weeding seem silly. (Did anyone see the Bruce Quast cartoon in Sunday's paper?)

A point of clarification from Mike Korn's guest column about the violations of The Open Meetings Act: Logli stated at the meeting that the Open Meetings Act was never violated, but that is simply not true. The link to the act is above for anyone who wants to read it, but the provision that we know for a fact has been broken read as follows, "In addition, a public body that has a website that the full-time staff of the public body maintains shall post notice on its website of all meetings of the governing body of the public body." The Rockford Public Library did not follow this provision, not just once, but multiple times as Rachel stated at the last board meeting.
A staff member brought it up in a monthly meeting beginning last fall (2011) that the incorrect meeting time and location was listed on the website. (The website stated meetings were held at Main at 6pm, when they were actually held at the East branch at 5:30.) During the January board meeting this fact was brought up by several of the public speakers and the information was corrected.
However, the committee meetings were not listed in March on the website. It is suspected that other provisions of the Open Meetings Act may have also been violated (such as the one that states meeting notices must be posted at the location of the meeting and one other location) but this has not been confirmed.
Regardless, it is true that the Open Meetings Act has been violated repeatedly this past year, and yes, Rachel did state that when the board president is the former state's attorney this fact is embarrassing, even unforgivable. "Unforgivable" was perhaps not the correct word choice and "inexcusable" should have been used instead.
After hearing about Daniel Ross receiving threats, it is important to SOL that the dialogue about the library and the library board is civil and does not incite people, so Rachel wishes she could change the adjective "unforgivable," to the more accurate "embarrassing." SOL's mission has been to inform the public about the current situation with the Rockford Public Library and has never been to be adversaries with the library director or board members.

Finally, there was also a wonderful guest column in Sunday's Rockford Register Star by Amy Orvis if you missed it.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

RPL purging books...

At the meeting Monday night several people expressed interest in holding a rally about the disappearing books to be held this Saturday. The idea of the rally will be to get community support for the issue and also to raise awareness. One individual called the news stations to give them the story about Frank taking books off shelves after hours. Channel 13 did a short piece on it this morning. You can watch the clip or read the article here. Unfortunately, the issue was truly not explored. It appears as if the station called the administration office and asked for them to respond to the allegations instead of investigating the issue themselves.

On a positive note, it was reported that the Budget and Finance committee meeting had some interesting parts... First, regarding the leasing of the top two floors of Main, Frank responded, "That's off the table...not that it was even on the table." Eiger-Lab and Embry Riddle were both interested in leasing the two floors, but apparently something has fallen through with both of these two.

Rock River's lease was also discussed. Rockton Center's lease (with taxes) is about $60,000 a year, but Rock River's is $100,000 so they are in the process of negotiating to see if they can get a lower rate.

Again, we'll need a strong showing at this month's board meeting. The meeting will be held on Monday, April 23 at 6pm at Main. (They changed the time at the last meeting from 5:30 to 6pm since some board members had a hard time getting to the meeting so soon after work. The Main location is temporary as the room at East is being used for another purpose that night.) Please try to come.

Also, don't forget about the rally on this Saturday, April 21. It'll be at the Main library from 10am-12pm. Feel free to bring signs about the problem of the disappearing books as that is the focus of the rally.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Meeting this Monday at Bookworm

Due to the problems of the massive weeding, the movement forward with the Sullivan Center, and the board's disregard of the Open Meetings Act, it seems advisable to get some of us together prior to the next board meeting to discuss our next steps.

For those who are able to come, we'll meet at the Bookworm Cafe at the East branch library on Monday, April 16 at 6pm. Please spread the word.