To the Editor:
Local governments should provide taxpayers with the whole truth. Sending out a puff piece at taxpayer expense that leaves out material facts is grossly unethical.
The Crystal Lake library recently sent out its annual report, full of facts that, in a vacuum, look wonderful. Here are relevant facts they didn’t tell you.
Library traffic is down 17 percent in the past two years, and 32 percent since 2010. Circulation is down 16 percent in the past two years, and 29 percent since 2011. The average cost for the library to circulate one item is $6. Thirty percent of its circulation is DVDs, mainly recent movie hits.
Redbox circulates the same DVDs for $1.50. How does circulating the latest movies benefit the public, especially at four times what Redbox charges?
Our library costs twice as much per family in taxes as other local libraries.
This library board spent millions of taxpayer dollars overpaying for houses around the library so it could build a bigger library – a project the voters turned down. Our government is supposed to be one of checks and balances. That means the job of the library board is to represent the public as a check on the bureaucracy. If instead it sees its job as shilling for the library, then it has not merely failed in its duty to the public, it has betrayed the public.
And if the City Council, which appoints this board, does not remove these members or rein them in, then it is just as culpable.