Hundreds rally on eve of Niles library vote

To say things are contentious between the Niles-Maine District Library Board and members of the community would be an understatement.

The division has gotten so bad that at a recent meeting, three members of the board walked out on the other four, to deny them a quorum.

On Tuesday evening, several hundred people rallied and marched to save the library in its existing form.

"The library is all about the community and this board wants to cut the programs that serve you all," said longtime librarian Donna Block, who was among those leading a rally and march at Nico Park to save the library from a 14-percent budget cut, which would reduce operating hours, cut salaries and eliminate several programs, including outreach to schools and senior centers.


"Cutting hours, 5 o'clock cutting off, what happens? The father and mother working until five will have no chance to bring their children to the library," said resident George Button.

A large group gathered at Nico Park before marching over to the library, where a public hearing quickly became contentious.

Facing the seven-member board, one resident said, "the trustees are, themselves, a source of wasted money."

But while 'save the library' supporters showed up in force, not everyone agrees with them. During the public comment session, resident David Carrabota said under the proposed budget, the library would be operating more efficiently.

"I want to commend the board for its work, for its effort, and for all the heat it has taken," he said.

Tuesday's meeting was a public comment session. The final vote on the coming year's budget will happen Wednesday night.