Champaign library to rescind fee, impose limits on non-resident users

Champaign library to rescind fee, impose limits on non-resident users

CHAMPAIGN — Library officials plan to rescind their policy of charging $200 annually to members of the Tolono and Mahomet districts to use the Champaign library, the board chairman said on Friday.

But the policy change comes with a new restriction on most non-Champaign library card holders: With the exception of Urbana card holders, non-residents will be limited to checking out a maximum of two items at a time at the Champaign library.

The library board gave preliminary approval to the changes this week, but the library's policy committee will still need to work out the details before the Dec. 8 effective date, board chairman Rusty Freeland said. Still pending is what will happen to the money some non-residents have already paid for the $200 special library card.

"That will be addressed in the policy," Freeland said. "That was not discussed at the meeting" Thursday night.

The policy change comes only weeks after the Illinois Heartland Library System threatened to suspend the Champaign library from the group. Had that suspension been finalized, Champaign residents would have lost access to materials at other libraries in the region, and the library would have become ineligible for thousands of dollars in state "per capita" grants.

The Illinois Heartland Library System is the conduit through which 594 downstate libraries share books and other materials. It was formed when four smaller systems, including the Lincoln Trail Libraries System, merged this summer.

Last month, the Heartland system moved to suspend the Champaign library and exclude it from the reciprocal borrowing system. That suspension triggered a review by the state of Illinois, which had 60 days to either uphold or overturn the suspension.

Leslie Bednar, the director of the Heartland system, could not be reached for comment on Friday.

Freeland said the pending suspension did not change his opinion of the $200 user fee, but the possibility of losing the grant money did.

"By adopting this more uniform policy" on most non-residents, Freeland said, "we should be in compliance with the Heartland policies, and that should allow them to rescind the suspension."

The user fee was established when Champaign library officials felt residents of the Mahomet and Tolono districts were overusing the Champaign facility and not adequately using their home libraries. That put a strain on the budget and the library collection, Freeland said, and that problem still exists today.

"It's really an equity issue, and I'm just looking at it as a member of the Champaign Public Library board, representing the taxpayers of Champaign," Freeland said.

It is not an uncommon problem, he said, and one that might need to be addressed at the state level.

"It's really just a difficult issue," Freeland said. "And unfortunately, the state library law and the creation of these two systems (IHLS and another in the northern region of the state) are just not really able to address under their current policies and under the current statutes and limitations."

The policy committee meeting will be open to the public, but a date for that meeting has yet to be scheduled. Committee members will meet before the proposed Dec. 8 effective date of the policy change.

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serf wrote on November 18, 2011 at 4:11 pm

common sense prevails

787 wrote on November 18, 2011 at 6:11 pm

And they thought all along, that this would work?

The fee was a bad idea from the start.  The limit on the number of items makes much more sense.

bookworm24 wrote on November 18, 2011 at 7:11 pm

Patrons from other Heartland System libraries still can't order and/or receive material from CPL using the online public access system.  You have to go to CPL in person and get a new card that only works at CPL in order to access their material. 

parkmymeterelsewhere wrote on November 19, 2011 at 7:11 am

What ever happened to the practice of courtesy and respect for one's neighbor?  That is the core issue--not taxpayers for one area vs. taxpayers for another area.  Put a mote around each other's locality and no trespassing signs.  Are we relly more equal than others?

Feltrino wrote on November 19, 2011 at 8:11 am

"What ever happened to the practice of courtesy and respect for one's neighbor?"  You are absolutely correct in asking this question, but misguided if you think Champaign is the neighbor that is not being courteous and respectful.  There is nothing neighborly about abusing the kindness of your neighbor by taking advantage of them.

"Are we really more equal than others?"  Apparently the residents of Mahomet and Tolono libraries think they are. 

Unfortunately, when the neighboring tax districts repeatedly refuse to adequately fund their own libraries, it does become an issue of one taxing body vs another.  

ClearVision wrote on November 19, 2011 at 8:11 am

Too bad common sense isn't prevailing here. Too many people are fleeing what they feel are high taxes in C-U to places like Tolono, Mahomet, St. Joe, etc., then feel they can take undue advantage of the money and effort put into our infrastructure by those of us who remain. Why don't those who don't like the non-resident fee work hard in their communities to bolster their own library (and other) services? Very selfish and non-communal on their part-- just more of the too-common "gimme what's mine as well as most of what's yours" mentality that runs rampant in society these days.

bookworm24 wrote on November 19, 2011 at 11:11 am

That's right!  And while they're at it, they should stop buying gas in C-U as well.  And getting groceries...and shopping at Wal-Mart...and going to movies....and getting their cars repaired...and using C-U's daycare providers...and eating at restaurants....  They should stay in their own communities and build up those businesses as well!  (And while everyone is at it, get off of C-U's damn sidewalks too!  You didn't pay for those!  Use your own!)

I would bet that a majority of the out of town patrons use CPL as a matter of convenience, not as a matter of getting something for free.  Just like they use every other business or service in C-U.  By the way, everyone realizes that these patrons are just borrowing these materials right?  They bring them back.


John O'Connor wrote on November 19, 2011 at 12:11 pm

Government services are not businesses. You can choose to patronize or not patronize any business in any location for whatever reason you want. However, when people purposely vote, time and time again, to underfund their own libraries and then overuse a library others accept the responsibility of adequately funding, those people are violating what was meant to be an equitable sharing arrangement.

But you apparently are put out that the residents of the CPL are not enthusiastic about being taken advantage of in order to subsidize the 'convenience' of people who constantly vote to underfund their own libraries. That's quite a sense of entitlement. A sense that is shared by a surprising number of people who probably believe it's only 'others' who feel entitled.

And when you shop in CU, you pay municipal sales taxes that go to funding the roads and sidewalks you travel on, not to mention police, fire, lights, etc. Do you resent that as well?

Enchantress of Numbers wrote on November 19, 2011 at 2:11 pm

Bookworm, based on your frequent (and often inaccurate) comments on every single article about the CPL that is published by the News-Gazette Online, you're someone with a bone to pick...perhaps an employee or patron of one of the libraries in question. Good for you for being passionate about libraries, but spreading misinformation because you're angry and bitter isn't helpful to anyone.

FYI, the reason that ILL and reciprocal borrowing has been shut down temporarily is because of the transition to the new catalog--and it's something that Illinois Heartland instituted, not either of the two libraries. It has nothing to do with not wanting to share. They are trying to make sure that everyone gets their materials back before the change to the automation system.

I've asked the Circulation staff at the CPL how reciprocal borrowing will be handled once the new system is up and running. I find them very friendly and helpful, and they are always willing to respond to questions. Anyhow, I was told that non-Champaign and Urbana reciprocal borrowers can register their current card from their home library on the new system once it comes up on December 8th. You do not need to get some kind of magical special new card that only works at Champaign and Urbana. You use the same card that you use right now, but it needs to be registered on the new Champaign and Urbana system. Easy enough, and if you're already at one of the two libraries, not terribly inconvenient.

It's amazing what you can learn if you just ask someone who knows, rather than making assumptions. You might want to give it a try sometime!

bythetracks wrote on November 21, 2011 at 12:11 pm

Dear Enchantress,

Much of the issues covered here are controlled by state law. Libraries need and depend upon state funds to operate. If they wish to continue their eligibility for those funds, they must comply with those rules. This is true state-wide.

Not all libraries are embroiled in the issues now facing Champaign library. Not all taxpayers will see a reason to reform state law simply to favor very few or even a single library.

You can learn more from your State of Illinois Librarian, Jesse White, Illinois Secretary of State:

And as usual, you can find me by the tracks.

bookworm24 wrote on November 22, 2011 at 12:11 pm


I am neither a resident of Tolono or Mahomet.  I am actually a resident of Champaign with a CPL library card.  I work in a small school library in a rural community and I do have a beef with CPL, I'll admit it.  But what statements have I made that are inaccurate?  We, in fact, cannot order books from CPL.  They do not, and will not, use the Horizon system anymore.  This prevents the patrons from being able to see what books CPL has on the shelf and prevents them from ordering books as well.  As far as getting a new CPL card, I think CPL circulation staff was being a little misleading.  No, you do not have to get a new "magic" card to check out books at CPL, but you do need to get a new barcode.  A Heartland member's current membership barcode will not work at CPL.  You need a new one.  Now whether or not you want to take that new barcode and affix it to your old card, which means no "new" card, then that is your choice.  It is still a new separate account to be used only at CPL.  And as far as the convenience of adding our accounts to CPL, you make it sound very easy.  I may just load up all 800 of my students and bus them in to CPL so they can all get their new barcodes. 



amf wrote on November 19, 2011 at 9:11 pm

Could someone explain to me what "underfund their own library" means?  "Underfund" suggests that there is some level of funding that is acceptable for the Tolono or Mahomet libraries and that the current funding is below that level.  Is that a fact?  I ask that in earnest, I don't know anything about the funding levels of rural libraries.  As an observer, I see a brand new Mahomet library that probably required some decent funds to build, and the Tolono library appears to be a fairly nice facility with a reasonable collection, given the extremely small, rural town it serves.  It's not as if either of these libraries is a vacant building with empty shelves.  If gaming the system were the M.O. of these two communities, why do they fund their libraries at all, knowing that they will just use CPL as their home library? 

I think it's a pretty heavy generalization to accuse the entire populations of these two communities as a whole of rampant selfishness.  I think the problem of disparate use of the different districts is a natural consequence of the way our community is structured with multiple municipalities governing areas that are functionally all one big community (at least with regard to Champaign, Urbana, and Savoy).  The way government services are funded in a metro area is always going to be imperfect.  As it is, our local libraries are meant to be public resources.  That's just the way it is.  

John O'Connor wrote on November 19, 2011 at 10:11 pm

They have voted down requests from the libraries to increase funding, much of it for materials. Stats show that residents from these two districts are outliers in their reliance on the CPL. Surely it's more convenient to use the libraries in their communities than come to the CPL, yet enough of the rely on CPL as their de facto home library to skew the stats.

I don't think anyone has said all the residents of those districts are guilty of rampant selfishness. But enough of them do so as to basically have residents of the CPL subsidize their library use. As others have noted, they pay lower taxes for their libraries and put what the CPL has described as an unfair burden on the time, staff and materials of the CPL.

I think the most equitable solution would be to have a single district and have everyone pay the same rate. But I'm not sure how many would agree because it would mean they'd have to pay more than they pay currently.

pjpatterson wrote on November 20, 2011 at 8:11 pm

I am offended by the characterizations made by John O'Conner.  I don't know where you get your information, but I certainly never voted against any funding for the Tolono library, even though truthfully I rarely use that library.  But I support my community, and that is where Savoy is assigned - even though Savoy did originally ask to be part of the Chamapign Library district and was apparently refused. I think the Tolono library district has done a really good job of using what funds they have, but realistically it just doesn't have the overall number of households supporting it that Champaign does.  This is not uncommon for smaller communities throughout the state, which is why things like the Lincoln Trails system were created.

The reason I don't use it has nothing to do with any grand scheme to abuse other library systems or rob Champaign residents of their hard spent taxes.  In fact, I was a taxpayer in Champaign for 14 years before becoming a resident of Savoy, so some of my taxes certainly went into the support and rebuilding of that library.  The reason I rarely use the Tolono library is simply that I never am in Tolono - I would be making the trip there solely for that purpose.  On the other hand, I drive by the Champaign library quite often, and the Urbana library occasionally, and I have always thought that a big plus of living in this area is how cooperative and friendly the library system and park districts are.  If Champaign Library had originally said "we can now longer support the current usage of our library, so we will limit all non-residents to 5 checked out items at a time, and maybe 30 for a $200 annual fee", I really don't think this would have become the issue it has.  I don't mind paying non-resident fees for park district programs, and I would not have minded a fair and equitable fee for full-resident services for Champaign, Urbana or even Mahomet.  But the approach that was taken, first by singling out only two communities that are so closely connected, and by not even talking to those communities in earnest until monetary repercussions became apparent, was just mean spirited and not good for the community as a whole.  And I am seriously failing to see what true burden was noticed... I don't hear Urbana complaining that all their books are being sucked up by neighboring communities, and it is still free (and friendly) to borrow from there.

In addition to proximity, the other issue I have is that school children throughout the Champaign school district are repeated subjected to the Champaign Library telling them how it is "their" public library.  Representatives come to the school, field trips to the library, etc.  And yet, there is a population of Savoy resident children that were told this at the exact same time the library was telling their parents "we don't want you, don't come here".  They actually came to the school to sign up kids for library cards - unless of course you live in Savoy. It would be nice if the stories were straight - or if Champaign had at least invited Tolono to come along and participate. 

I think you might find people who object to paying for Champaign library - but I expect you will find these people in Champaign as well as Savoy - some people just don't like to pay for schools, libraries, or park districts.   But I sincerely doubt that many of these people are the same people who were USING the resources.  So don't go around spreading lies about how Savoy residents are users and abusers when you don't seem to really know anything about it. 

By the way - we did pay the $200 fee, and quite frankly we were still treated like second class citizens by Champaign Library staff. 







gregnovak wrote on November 20, 2011 at 7:11 pm

Feltrino and Mr. O'Conner

Can you please tell me when the voyers of the Tolono Township Library have voted down funding for their facility. It seems to be an article of faith by you that this has occured - but I can't find any record of it.

Now I can not speak for Mahomet, but I can speak for Savoy - but as to why residents of Savoy might be tempted to use the Champaign facility instead of the Tolono facility - have you ever considered it might be a case of simple convienance rather then a complex plot?

Savoy is at the moment the largest village in the state that lacks a school of its own, This will change next year - but many parents who drive their children to school drive into and out of Champaign twice a day.

Most people who live in Savoy work in Champaign - and travel in and out each day.

Most people who live in Savoy shop in Champaign, especially north of I-74

What all of these people have in common is that many of them have traveled up US-45 to get to where they are going - and pass within a few blocks of the Champaign facility - which has expanded its facility and parking so as to make it easier to get there. That is why the Savoy usage has gone up - theChampaign Public Library has made it easier for people to use it

To say that none of these people who have used the facility support the City of Champaign, which funds the library is rather incorrect. When I purchase something in Champaign - I pay a sales tax to the City. Since most of the better resturants are in Champaign - when I eat there - I pay a city tax. People who live outside Champaign do help support Champaign - yes I don't pay a property tax there - but neither do the students who live in University owned dorms - yet they have full use of the Champaign Library.

As to the comments by the Enchantress of Numbers

My concern is with the new catalog system that Champaign and Urbana are moving to at the cost of $$$. Will this be open to other members of the library system - or not. Will patrons of the Champaign library be able to search other libraries outside their building - and request items. It's one thing to say we are going to let others borrow materials from us - but yas an outsider you can't see what items we have on hand.

I understand that the seperation of systems has made a seperation at the moment - but why has Champaign turned off access to OCLC - a seperate library loan system worldwide

My .02


John O'Connor wrote on November 20, 2011 at 8:11 pm

pjpattersen and gregnovek,

It seems clear that Tolono has not adequately funded the library or people would patronize it more. And when you pay sales taxes in town you are also consuming resources -- roads, police, fire, sewer, lights, parking, etc. I understand that the CPL might be more convenient, but why should the residents of the CPL subsidize your convenience?

The CPL has documented that the residents of the Tolono and Mahomet district were assigned fees because they were way off the charts compared to other surrounding smaller districts. As I said above and in other threads, I never accused all the residents of these districts of taking advantage of the system. But enough clearly are to put these districts in a class way above the other area districts.

I think the best solution would be to have single district and have everyone pay the same. I'd join you in advocating an amalgamated district. But do you really think the voters in your districts would approve such a measure? I'd be surprised, though pleasantly, if they would.

pjpatterson wrote on November 20, 2011 at 9:11 pm

If you are suggesting that Tolono tax payers should be building a library the size of Champaign and are intentionally not funding it, I can't even imagine what you are thinking.  The per-household cost for a small community to create something only supportably by a large community would be laughable.  Again, you seem equate patronage solely based on funding and spending, but I think many have already stated that location is a more primary factor here. If it were up to me, Savoy taxes would include Champaign library district, but as has been said before, it was Champaign that rejected that proposal.

If I truly thought it would make a significant improvement, I would be for a communal district.  However, I don't think that would serve the Tolono community, because I expect all the funds would funnel only into the larger establishments rather than supporting multiple branches. 

I think a fundamental concept for me is that public libraries are meant to serve the public, not the taxpayers.  Think about it - if this were really a case of "you need to pay for what you use", it would be a private library with membership fees.  Those who have the resources would have access to literature and knowledge, and those without sufficient resources would just have to do without.  It seems uncivilized and un-American to promote education of only those that can pay and lock out those who cannot.  This is why class systems dominated in other less enlightened societies for thousands of years.  Public libraries are specifically meant to serve the greater community, to help all individuals betterment of self through freely available knowledge.  I think our country, our society, our community can and should aspire to greater ideals, and I think that the intent behind the creation of a public library system was meant to support this effort. 




Sid Saltfork wrote on November 20, 2011 at 9:11 pm

I thought it was clearly understood.  WE DO NOT WANT TO USE THE CHAMPAIGN LIBRARY.  You went your way; and we went ours.  It would be wrong for Champaign's library to be allowed to re-enter the system.  Charge fees, restrict borrowing, whine, offer deals, etc......  anything you want; but we do not want to be in a system with you.  Good luck to you.  Now, leave us alone.

John O'Connor wrote on November 20, 2011 at 9:11 pm

I never suggested Tolono should build a library the size of CPL -- I don't know where you got that.

If I truly thought it would make a significant improvement, I would be for a communal district. However, I don't think that would serve the Tolono community, because I expect all the funds would funnel only into the larger establishments rather than supporting multiple branches.

So, are you for a unified district or not? It appears that when it comes to the taxes you are paying, you suddenly care very much about how they are disbursed. When CPL district residents say they don't think the situation is equitable, you say it's all about sharing. But, given an alternate proposal, you are concerned about how it gets distributed.

Kind of a double standard, no?

The original intent was to establish a fair and equitable sharing system. But as noted, enough people, just from these two districts, abused the system, as documented by the CPL.

Do you have a source for your claim that the CPL rejected Savoy residents?

Sid Saltfork wrote on November 21, 2011 at 9:11 am

It is a moot point.  Champaign has it's exclusive library; and the rest of us will continue sharing our libraries.  Dropping the fee; and restricting borrowing does not cut it.  Champaign will go it's way; and the rest of the county will go it's way.  Champaign has it's unified district: Champaign.  Wherever the concept of reading books abuses the system came from demonstrates an elitist, selfish regard toward education.  Champaign has it's one, and only library; and the county has multiple, sharing libraries.   There is no need to continue the dialouge.  It's a done deal. 

gregnovak wrote on November 21, 2011 at 10:11 am

Mr. O'Conner

The Champaign Public Library looked at being a Public Library District in the late 1990's but did not take that step as it would have removed it from the City's control as well as subjected it to tax caps. Unless it took such a step - it could not have offered services to the Savoy area save on a case by case basis - one would have to purchase an out of district library card. It was the choice of the Champaign Public Library to remain as it was.

As southern Savoy has been in Tolono Township Library District since that district was formed - the question was what do to with providing service for Savoy north of Old Church Street.

The options were to join with an existing library district ie Tolono - or create a seperate library district to contract for services. However such a district would end up similar to the Southwest Transit District with all the problems that have evolved - a political body which would have legal expenses - yet conytrol nothing.

If such a library district was to be formed - then the question was whether to include Rolling Acres and the other areas outside Champaign - Maynard Lake, Dobbins Downs. It was pointed out that some areas could end up being double taxed if and when the City of Champaign annexed such areas - as there now exists between the City of Champaign Township and Champaign Township. The attempt was dropped as a result.


I found out this morning that Champaign and Urbana will continue to share items with other libraries using the OCLC process - which is far more paperwork intense and time consuming  then the existing  Heartland system. Items will still be sent back and forth, but at a much slower pace. This is really the case of cutting one's own throat to spite ones enemies.





John O'Connor wrote on November 21, 2011 at 11:11 am

Mr 'Novek,'

Of course forming a consolidated district has to be done on terms that are acceptable to all parties. It's not surprising that the CPL would not agree to arbitrary county caps or to excluding certain neighborhoods. The SWMTD fiasco is absolutely not a model that should be repeated, ever. There are many ways to form an equitable joint district, none of which involve 'enemies.'

However, I still contend that such a move wouldn't pass because enough people in the other districts like paying lower taxes while still having full access to the adequately funded, and more 'convenient,' CPL.

Sid Saltfork wrote on November 21, 2011 at 1:11 pm

You "contend"?  The issue has been clarified by those who have knowledge regarding the statistics, rules, and history.  All of this is to be disregarded due to your contention?  Your contention is basic.  You feel that those who live outside of Champaign sponge off of Champaign to escape paying more taxes.   What statistics, or history do you have to prove your contention?

gregnovak wrote on November 21, 2011 at 6:11 pm

Mr. O'Connor;

My apologies for misspelling your name.

However your statement that  "enough people in the other districts like paying lower taxes" has a minor problem. There is not a lot of actual proof to that statement when one considers for example the school tax rates for Urbana, Champaign, Tolono (Unity) and Mahomet Seymour.

District                  Tax rate                            taxes on a $150,000 house

Champaign          3.7238                                $1,862

Tolono                 4.2508                                $2,112

Mahomet              4.4072                              $2,204

Urbana                 4.4083                              $2,204


The two areas you fault that because they don't like to pay taxes do seem willing to pay their share on education.

Remember that the citizens of the City of Champaign do not set their tax rates by referendum - rather the City Council gets to set them.

One last point - citizens of Mahomet and Savoy/Tolono have been using the Champaign Public Library for years - and while times were good the Champaign Public Library welcomed them as they helped push the circulation numbers up - and helped make the case for a new Library facility to better serve their customers.

Now that times are hard - and Champaign has lost revenue and cuts need to be made - the Champaign Public Library suddenly discovers that they have a problem




John O'Connor wrote on November 21, 2011 at 7:11 pm

No problem. Could you provide a link for your figures? I of course have no reason to doubt them, but it would be nice to see the source.

But anyway, we're talking about the libraries. I have never made any reference to the relative taxes for schools. What does that have to do with the relative funding of libraries? If you want to make the general point that voters in those districts are willing to fund things that they're willing to fund, then, okay. Fine. No argument there. My point is that a majority of voters in these districts have proven not to be willing to adequately fund their libraries. Their willingness to fund schools is beside the point.

Yes, the problem has existed for a long time. But that does not somehow prevent the CPL from eventually taking steps to mitigate that problem.

Sid Saltfork wrote on November 21, 2011 at 8:11 pm

The problem is solved.  No need to "contend" without proof.  Champaign has it's library; and the rest of the county has their shared libraries.  It is not a problem anymore.  It appears that Champaign made a mistake.  Now, "restricting" the amount of materials is a compromise to paying fees for loaned materials.  Champaign borrows more materials than it loans out.  Yet, some contend that others are sponging off of them.  No problem.  It is over.  Champaign goes it's way; and the rest of the county goes another way.  It is solved. 

serf wrote on November 21, 2011 at 8:11 pm

Novak FTW


John O'Connor wrote on November 22, 2011 at 2:11 am

For comparing apples to oranges?

gregnovak wrote on November 22, 2011 at 6:11 am

Mr. O'Connor:

Fact Check Here

ITEM: I have repeatedly pointed out that I do not speak for Mahomet - but do speak for Tolono-Savoy. I can not find, and you have never shown that a library referendum has been defeated in the Tolono District. Thus your arguement that people living in the Savoy Tolono area do not support libraries can not be proven

ITEM: I used the figures on school tax rates from the Champaign County Clerk as this is an area where voters in all areas have direct control over their tax rates. The actual apples to oranges comparison is the fact that the City of Champaign sets a tax rate for the library out of their general levy - and that levy - which pays for a variety of city services, is supplemented by other taxes and revenue sources. The City Council gets to make hard choices as is their duty - but the voters of Champaign do not directly determine the library levy. In contrast, the Tolono Library has a revenue stream based on the property tax that the voters approve. So to find a true comparison of voter support - I used the school tax rate. If your arguement is that the voters are not willing to support services because they don't like paying taxes - should that not show up here as well?

If you wish to attack Mahomet because they haveturned down tax increases for their library - fine. But I as a resident of Savoy resent being lumped in as a group who refuses to "pay their share" when you have yet to prove when that has happened. The Tolono Library currently operates in the black - it has not needed to go to the voters for an increase. When that happens, and if the voters reject it - then and only then can I conclude your position is correct.


John O'Connor wrote on November 22, 2011 at 9:11 am

Your evidence shows that the voters are willing to fund the school system. The stats provided by the CPL show that, along with enough of the Mahomet districts residents, enough of the Tolono district residents overuse the CPL, to the point that it is in essence their de facto home library. Why do you think this is? The fact is that they are not paying their fair share of the CPL expenses. That cannot in good faith be disputed.

If the people in your district joined the CPL and paid what the CPL residents pay, they would pay more. However, until recently, they were able to sustain their lower rates and yet still have full access to CPL and, as noted, many used it as their home library. They, enough of the them at least, were not in fact paying their fair share.

I'm sorry if I offended you personally but the fact remains that, regardless of your personal willingness to fund services, enough of the people in your library district took unfair advantage of what was meant to be an equitable sharing agreement. Did they do this out of some Machiavellian 'grand plan' to screw the residents of the CPL district? Of course not. But the results were nonetheless that they were placing undue burdens on the staff and materials of the CPL.

How about this: at what percentage would you gauge the probability of passage of, let's just say Savoy, leaving the Tolono and joining the CPL district? Doing so would mean full membership in the CPL but a higher levy? Maybe I'm way off, but just off hand, I'd put it at well below 50%, at least under the old arrangement when there was no incentive to do so. Perhaps now that their use of the CPL has some limit, they would find it worthwhile, but I don't know. What do you think?

Sid Saltfork wrote on November 22, 2011 at 10:11 am

Why do you keep beating a dead horse?  You don't accept the facts presented in the present, and past commentaries.  Why aren't there more outraged Champaign citizens with comments?  Most people understand the issue.  Champaign's library felt that people were sponging off of them.  The fee proposed broke the concept of shared materials.  The other libraries in, and out of the county share.  Champaign made it's decision to go it alone.  After realizing that Champaign library patrons borrow more than they loan with other libraries across the area; Champaign now wants to "restrict" the amount of materials shared with other libraries.  What if the libraries that share decide to "restrict" the amount of materials borrowed by Champaign patrons?  The whole thing is due to the current economic problem.  Access to educational materials are now "restricted" to anyone who does not live in the assigned library area?  Are we returning to private libraries that only the wealthy utilize?  If we cannot share knowledge, we really are in trouble.  "Mine, Mine..." is absurd, and childish.  Sharing without restrictions benefits all of us; esspecially our young.    

gregnovak wrote on November 22, 2011 at 12:11 pm

Mr. O'Connor;


(Sorry to yell but you keep referring to an non existendent political body as if it were real)

The Champaign Public Library is a Department of the City of Champaign - and the only way that residents of Savoy can enter into its area of operations is to deannex from the Village of Savoy and join the City of Champaign. 

If the issue were one of Savoy joining the non existant Champaign Public Library District - the votes might well be in favor. But that option does not and can not exist under the present conditions. So why keep pushing a non existant solution.

One could argue for the existance of countywide government agencies across the board - so that all elements of Champaign County are taxed and treated the same - but what happens if Piatt has a lower tax rate - or Ford offers better service - do we go to a statewide system? 

What will be interesting to see is once the circulation usage rate at Champaign drops, how they will justify more staff




John O'Connor wrote on November 22, 2011 at 12:11 pm

All caps? Really?

I don't want to get into a micro level discussion of the exact nature of the relative structures of the library systems. I'm also not going to present a detailed outline of just how such a merger/annexation would be structured. Obviously, that can be done in any number of ways, the minutiae of which is beyond the scope of this comment thread, or at least my part of it.

But, to repeat my original question, if it were put to a referendum in Savoy, what chance would you give passage? Above 50%?

Sid Saltfork wrote on November 22, 2011 at 4:11 pm

Your avoiding reality.  "If", and "what" does not cut it.  Your speculating, and spinning.  The reality is that Champaign currently has a library that cannot borrow from the others because Champaign did not want to share.  When Champaign follows the same rules as the other libraries inside, and outside of the county; things will return to normal.  Your argument that other communities under fund their libraries does not offer any solution.  It only convinces the county communities that they do not want Champaign back in the system.  

bythetracks wrote on November 21, 2011 at 11:11 am

“It’s really an equity issue, and I’m just looking at it as a member of the Champaign Public Library board, representing the taxpayers of Champaign,” Freeland said.

—Excuse me? Where does he think the state money comes from? Trees! No! All taxpayers pay for Champaign library (state of IL grant money), even those who never set foot in C-U. Phew!

It’s really disturbing to know that we have lots and lots of officials who spend lots and lots of tax money and don’t even care to know about its source.—you can find me anytime, by the tracks.

gregnovak wrote on November 23, 2011 at 10:11 am

Mr. O'Connor

We are going to have to disagree - you want to deal with theorical options that may or may not happen - because you are not interested in the details - I'm a person who belives that "the devil is in the details", and those little details can shape how an issue works itself out. "Peace on earth is an option all should support - but how does one wish to carry that out? A dicatorship? - a worldwide democracy? - the how the purpose will be carried has a definate impact on the issue.

Your question as to whether Savoy would support a library can be answered by looking at history - when the citizens of Savoy were offered the option of joining a library district, they voted in favor of doing so accepting the fact that it would result in higher taxes.There only was that one option open at the time, and the voters approved it. 

John O'Connor wrote on November 24, 2011 at 8:11 am

Well, I don't think our current discussion rises to the level of your profound questions about world dictatorship versus world democracy. And of course details are important, but proceeding blindly without first making general determinations in foolish, no?

Can you provide a link for info about the Savoy election you refer to? When did it take place and what was the question? Was it in the last ten years? Or was it 20+ years ago. Again, this might be apples and oranges. Savoy has changed dramatically, in various stages, over recent decades.

Last, a historic vote, whenever it took place, is not the 'only' indicator of how current residents might vote given the choice to maintain the status quo or join the CPL district, or whatever nomenclature you approve of. Sure, there's no way to predict a future vote with 100% accuracy, but I'd be willing to put up at least $100 that Savoy voters would defeat a measure to become full members of the CPL and pay what current residents pay.

And yes, we'll have to agree to disagree about whether the current arrangement is fair. But still, I doubt that any fair observer acting in good faith, or with money on the line, would predict that a measure leveling the playing field would get more than 50% of the vote.