Flashback: Library card and the election of 1991

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By Historical Society

Watts is lone council member with library card

By KEN TRAINOR  Forest Park Review  March 27, 1991, page 1

Mayor Lorraine Popelka doesn't have one. Neither do Jerry Jacknow, Ken Stange or Maureen Booth. In fact, Dan Watts is the only member of the present village council who owns a valid library card.

Of the non-incumbents, Armand Ladouceur, Tim Mellin, Anthony Pecoraro, Terry Winchell and Greg Kolinek all say they have cards. Richard Leninger says his has expired, but he plans to renew it. Angelyn Parilli says she plans to get one soon.

The question came up at the Moose Lodge, March 19, during the Candidates' Night question and answer period. The forum was co-sponsored by the Forest Park Review and the Historical Society.

Library Director John Sayers says 6,147 Forest Parkers hold valid library cards, roughly equivalent to the number of citizens who are registered to vote. Library cardholders comprise about 42 percent of the population.

Forest Park, however, requires annual renewal of cards which,. Sayers says, helps the library keep better tabs on times-- Dan Watts uses his card fairly often. He's still taking classes toward his MBA and he would like to see the library open on Sundays, so he can use it throughout the weekend.

However, he doesn't think card ownership is "relevant to the issue of whether someone is interested in the library." Jerry Jacknow says he left his card in the library in 1956 and has been meaning to go back and check on it ever since.

Popelka says all her kids had library cards, and over the years she's paid the library more in fines than she cares to think about.

Phil Clark says he hasn't had the need to use a card for many years. "Why have one if you're not going to use it?" he says.

Tim Mellin says he has a card, but "it's rare that they have what I need." He's been told that he would be better off going to Oak Park's library, and that's a situation he would like to see corrected.

 It's difficult, he says, for a high school student to get over to the Oak Park Public Library without a car.

Park board candidate Greg Kolinek says, "If you live in town, you should participate in the library." He wonders how anyone can vote on a matter concerning the library who doesn't set foot inside on occasion.

District 91 School Superintendent Joseph Scolire, who owns a library card, says school personnel try to set an example for their students. "We try to get across that reading isn't something you have to do. It's fun. It's something you want to do.''  Teachers usually take their classes over to the public library to sign them up.

Richard Leningcr says the card issue isn't so important as "do you or don't you support the library?" He says he uses the library regularly for research which doesn't require a card.

Angelyn Parilli prefers to buy the books she reads, but thinks that people should be encouraged to get a card, especially during a time when the library is facing difficulties.

 

We need more card-carrying library sympathizers

Editorial March 27, 1991

Dan Haley

Should possession of a valid library card be a requirement for holding public office?

No.

Is library card possession a major issue in the upcoming election?

Of course not.

Should every candidate and incumbent possess a valid library card?

You bet.

In a village much divided about the future of its library, just who and who does not possess a library card became an issue at last week's Candidate's Forum.

And a very discouraging number of the incumbents can lay claim to ownership of a card.

A library card is a small but potent symbol of arguably the noblest institution ever devised by human society.

In a world where most of us spend an inordinate amount of time, energy and money protecting our possessions from getting ripped off by our fellow man, here is an organization which happily loans out its treasures without any charge for a prescribed period of time.

All it asks is that you return the items more or less intact so that others might enjoy them, too. And it works. Think about that. It's almost miraculous. The public library system eloquently attests to the better side of human nature. We can share knowledge without anyone extracting a ransom.

Public servants are forever testifying that they're not in it for the money or the glory or the power. Their primary motivation is to give something back to the community, they say. A good place to start is by becoming a card-carrying library sympathizer.

Like it or not, elected officials are role models— for adults as well as kids. Several of the current candidates have pointed out that you can still support the library without owning a card. True enough. Several added that you can still use the library (for research, etc.) without ever checking out a book. Also true.

Nevertheless, it says something about the non-owner.

The difference between a candidate owning a library card and not owning one could well mean the difference between supporting the library in theory and supporting it through concerted action.

When Dan Watts says he supports the library, it rings true. He has a card and uses it. When the rest of the council say they support the library, all we can do is take their word for it.

Several candidates and incumbents went so far as to imply that library cards are OK for kids, but that

adults don't really need them. That's not the kind of message we should be sending the younger generations.

Obtaining a library card is a relatively simple procedure.

It's a small gesture, but an important one. At the moment, the number of Forest Parkers who own valid library cards is roughly equivalent to the number who are registered to vote. Who knows what might happen if 70 percent of us owned cards?

Obtaining a card (or renewing it) is literally the least a candidate can do to show support for our beleaguered public library. It's a little thing, but little things mean a lot.

Read that in a book somewhere.

 

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