GPL Blog

From the Director’s Desk — Illinois Book Banning Bill

Credit: The Times of Northwest Indiana

Illinois has become the first state in the country to enact a law preventing book bans. Governor Pritzker signed a bill on June 12 prohibiting public libraries from removing books due to “partisan or doctrinal disapproval,” and libraries may lose eligibility for state funding if they don not comply. I’d like to address what this means for GPL and for other libraries in Illinois.

The bill states:

“In order to be eligible for state grants, a library or library system shall adopt the American Library Association’s [ALA] Library Bill of Rights that indicates materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval or, in the alternative, develop a written statement prohibiting the practice of banning books or other materials within the library or library system.”

Galesburg Public Library receives around $40,000 annually from the State in addition to occasional grants, like the Public Library Construction Act Grant for $15.3 million that is funding 75% of the construction of our new building. GPL meets the requirements named in the bill and is not at risk of losing state funding. Our Materials Selection Policy, approved by the library board of trustees in 2002, adopts the ALA Library Bill of Rights and outlines criteria for selecting materials for our collection as well as criteria for removing materials from our collection.

The reasons an item may be added to the collection include demand by patrons, local interest, significance to the existing collection, qualifications of the author, timeliness, and price. An item may be removed because it is not being checked out, is obsolete, inaccurate, physically worn or damaged, is a duplicate copy, or other reasons demonstrating that the item no longer adds value to the collection.

The bill was written in response to a record high number of attempts to remove or restrict books from schools, classrooms, and public libraries recorded last year. ALA counted 1,269 demands to censor books and resources in 2022 with 2,571 unique titles being targeted. The majority of challenged books were written by or about people of color and people in the LGBTQIA+ community. GPL has not faced any formal challenges to remove books or other resources from our collection.

Because of our policy recognizing everyone in our community’s freedom to read, we are in compliance with the new bill, which goes into effect on January 1, 2024. To read more about how censorship impacts communities, check out my blog entry from Banned Books Week.

Library Bill of Rights

  1. Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.
  2. Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.
  3. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.
  4. Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.
  5. A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.
  6. Libraries which make exhibit spaces and meeting rooms available to the public they serve should make such facilities available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use.
  7. All people, regardless of origin, age, background, or views, possess a right to privacy and confidentiality in their library use. Libraries should advocate for, educate about, and protect people’s privacy, safeguarding all library use data, including personally identifiable information.

From the Director’s Desk — How Green Is Your Library?

We are about a year away from moving into our new facility and are taking steps to ensure the library is environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable in our new space. Some of the sustainable initiatives we’ve taken include planning for an electronic vehicle charging station in our future parking lot, building a skills lab with tools for patrons to use and share, and adding solar panels to our roof through the Solar for All program. In the meantime, there are several ways we are practicing environmental responsibility for our library and our community.

Libraries, by the very nature of our existence, reduce waste by sharing materials with our communities. We own over 134,000 items that can be accessed by and shared among our community members, including items that can be borrowed, like books, movies, music, magazines, toys, games, hot spots, etc., and items that are shared within the library like public computers, newspapers in print and on microfilm, and a public meeting room. Lending and sharing reduce consumption and waste, save our community members money, and create more equitable opportunities for all Galesburg residents.

Some of the items we lend encourage and allow library users to reduce their environmental impact, including bike locks to support cyclists and Kill-A-Watt electricity usage monitors. Our seed library provides fruit, vegetable, and flower seeds available to the public at no cost, and we provide many paths for patrons to recycle, share, and rehome their own materials, including our blessing box, our annual Halloween costume drive, and, new this spring, a puzzle and board game swap.

Outdoors, our Monarch Waystation supports butterfly migration and survival, and we plan to include another at the new library location. The windows of our new building will have bird-safe glazing to reduce bird strikes and lessen our impact on migration patterns.

If you are interested in discussing the environment and sustainability with other community members, please consider joining the Food for Thought Book Club which meets monthly at Cornucopia and discusses books about food, climate, and the environment. The current read is Wastelands by Corban Addison, which is available for check out at the library, and the next meeting is Thursday, March 30, at 11:30.

From the Director’s Desk: So You Want to Work in a Library?

Librarianship is a broad field, delivering all kinds of information to all kinds of people. Library work is possible in schools and colleges, hospitals and government agencies, museums and theaters. Libraries come in all sizes and a range of systems.  Galesburg Public Library has a staff of fifteen full-time and thirteen part-time positions, and if you’ve ever considered working in a library like ours, some of the steps below can help prepare you for a role in public librarianship.

Read more →

From the Director’s Desk: A Day in the Life

Ever wondered exactly what our director is doing every day? Here’s a peek into Noelle’s “typical” day:

8am: I arrive at work and before settling into my office, I do a quick walk around the building to look for any problems. I notice the blessing box is nearly empty so I grab some food items and water bottles from our breakroom to restock it (staff may wear blue jeans on Fridays and Saturdays if we donate something to the blessing box.) An indoor garbage can is filling up, so I empty it in the dumpster, and I stop to chat with a regular patron in the parking lot.

9am: Time for emails. I read and respond to emails about new procedures, meeting schedules, library law, new tech purchases, vendor pricing, and donor information. I add a…

Read more →

From the Director’s Desk — May 2022

Galesburg is full of extraordinary women, and many of them are contributing to Galesburg Public Library’s capital campaign.

As part of the campaign to raise $3.75 million for the construction of a new building, the library joined the 100 Extraordinary Women program, a national fundraising platform. The library’s goal was to recruit one hundred women to each pledge $1,000 and collectively raise $100,000 for the new building. By May 18, 208 had joined the cause, raising $208,000 and becoming the most successful 100 Extraordinary Women (100EW) campaign in the county. Approximately one third of participants made their pledges in honor or in memory of someone else.

To celebrate the success and thank the community of donors, the Galesburg Public Library Foundation hosted a recognition event at The Vault. The energy in the room was palpable…

Read more

From the Director’s Desk — March 2022

Connect with your library this National Library Week

April 3-9 marks the 64th anniversary of National Library Week, and we hope you’ll celebrate with us. The annual celebration began in 1958 when the National Book Committee pledged to combat the decline of reading and celebrate the freedom to read in communities throughout the country. This year’s theme, “Connect with Your Library,” emphasizes the versatile offerings of libraries and the core theme of connection achieved through library services.

The Galesburg Public Library helps our community connect to distant friends and family, to neighbors, and to community leaders by providing public computers, meeting spaces, and educational events. We help our community connect to the internet by sponsoring…

Read more →

From the Director’s Desk — February 2022

“When women come together, extraordinary things happen.”

The Galesburg Public Library Foundation (GPLF) has joined the national 100 Extraordinary Women initiative, engaging women throughout the community to pledge their support to the new building project. The GPLF is asking one hundred women to come together to pledge $1,000 over five years (less than $20 per month) to the library.

The funds will be used to sponsor the Skills Lab in the new building, an interactive classroom for adults and teens to use tools, equipment, and training simulators to develop skills that may equip them for the workforce or empower them to live and thrive independently. The contents of the lab will rotate depending on community needs, and…

Read more →

From the Director’s Desk — November 2021

Each month, Library Director Noelle Thompson will give an update on what’s happening at the library. Check here for updates on the new building, exciting news, and more!

Giving Tuesday is an international event celebrating generosity, community, and collaboration. This year, we’re asking our community to work together to support the construction of a new library and fill our bookshelves. The new library will have room for 30,000 more books, movies, music CDs, and magazines. On Tuesday, November 30, you can give to the Galesburg Public Library Foundation and fill the new building with books on opening day.

Increasing the number of bookshelves is vital for several reasons. First of all, that means

Read more →

From the Director’s Desk — October 2021

Each month, Library Director Noelle Thompson will give an update on what’s happening at the library. Check here for updates on the new building, exciting news, and more!

The Register-Mail recently asked me about common library myths. My answer is included below along with other common misconceptions.

Myth: Libraries are silent, somber places.

Fact: Libraries are places of learning. Sometimes learning does require quiet environments so students can read, research, and study without disruption. Other times, learning is loud. We learn through play, through conversation, and through collaboration. The new building will have study rooms for students to read undisturbed and spaces for exploration…

Read more →

Copyright © 2024 Galesburg Public Library. All rights reserved. Web Hosting and Design by InMotion Hosting