Mayor Lightfoot recently decided to reinstitute Sunday hours for Chicago’s public libraries. We should all thank Kang Chiu, president of the Friends of the Rogers Park Library and founder of the Coalition of Friends of Chicago’s libraries, for this development. Kang has been advocating for this chamge for the past three years, and in 2016 he testified before the Chicago City Council about the importance of restoring Library hours. He even figured the dollar cost so the library and the City administration would know how much additional expense would be incurred.
You can find Kang’s testimony on this blog. The entry is dated March 1, 2017, and is entitled “Chicago Public Library Survey,” referring to a survey being conducted at that time. His testimony is included in that post.
Kang’s leadership on this issue should not be overlooked. He has kept this matter before the library board and the public. I’m delighted that someone in city government–in this case, our new mayor–has finally paid attention.
Thank you, Kang Chiu, for your vision and your leadership on the issue of restoring public library hours .
On another library matter, the alderman still says that she has no idea what’s going to happen to the old library. Just a few weeks ago, in April, another vacant library was sold to a Latino community group for $1. The group plans to develop the site as shared community space. Silverstein voted “yes” on the sale.
It’s time for the 50th Ward to have a community meeting on the fate of the old library. It’s time for our various community groups to pull together and demand that this building be used to advance our common goals. Let’s not make it a zero-sum game that only one group can win. Instead, let’s consider forming a neighborhood council of community groups and visionary individuals to guide this enterprise.
Check the City ordinance here: