I am a lifelong resident of Rockford, a frequent library patron and a lover of books. What is happening now at the Downtown Branch is nothing less than a crime against not only the people of this community, but against the concept of library itself. We all know about the threat to the library system since out-of-town Director Frank Novak was given a blank check by the library board to overhaul it. What many do not know is that books are already disappearing from library shelves in massive numbers from the Downtown Branch. Library personnel have testified to this, and a walk through the second and third floors makes this plundering easily visible. Here is a link to a picture of empty shelves on the second floor: http://a5.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/s320x320/524128_10151506759125145_898020144.
Where are the books going? What criteria is being used to get rid of them? What accountability is there? This despicable activity is being swept under the rug. These books are NOT the private collection of Novak and the Board … they belong to the CITIZENS OF ROCKFORD and have been paid for by OUR MONEY! It is unbelievable to the point of parody. What library system trashes their own books in secret?
I have already contacted Mayor Larry Morrissey about this issue and have also gotten in touch with Kent Fiels, executive director of the American Library Association. I’m also trying to get Occupy Rockford involved. This issue should be of great importance to anybody who loves books and libraries. I know e-books are part of the equation today, but this behavior is OUTRAGEOUS! I’ve also heard that plans are already in place to rent out parts of the Downtown Library once it’s been emptied of its most valuable resource.
I have put up with a lot of dismal activity in Rockford over the years, but this is the end. I have no intention of living in a community so backward, so totally bereft of respect for history, culture and learning. The city is beyond saving if this lunatic activity continues. I urge all citizens to get involved.
From the April 11-17, 2012, issue