Cook County

Orland Park Public Library Intends to Waste $6,700 on Conferences for Staffers

Orland Park, Illinois (ECWd)

On Monday, April 17th, 2017, the Orland Park Public Library Board is poised to approve spending in the amount of $6,700 to send staffers and Board President Nancy Wendt Healy on another round of needless conference traveling.

It begs the questions: is this spending ever necessary, do these staffers ever learn anything truly worthy at these conferences, and does the public ever actually benefit from all these public employees going off on adventures outside their usual workplace (while collecting their full salaries as if they were at their desks working)?

According to their itemized agenda, $3,700 is being allocated for Library Director Mary Weimar, Assistant Director Mary Adamowski, Outreach Services Manager Kelly Cuci, Youth Services Manager Diane Norris-Kuczynski, and Library Spokesman Jackie Boyd to attend the American Library Association’s conference in downtown Chicago in June. The ALA event is a three-day affair, so the first question raised by this spending is whether it’s truly necessary for all of these people to attend all three days of the event.

Since day passes to the conference are much cheaper than the three-day-pass, why couldn’t the Orland Park staffers just attend one day and save the public some money? The conference is mainly just an exhibit floor where publishers have advance copies of selected new books that they give away and conference attendees are given little red trick-or-treating bags to walk from one exhibit table to the next collecting pens, posters, candy, and other goodies that the trade show exhibitors keep in little bowls for them to take. While this experience is fun for all who attend, is it necessary for all of these adult Orland Park staffers to trick-or-treat for three days straight?

According to its website, the ALA also offered a discounted price for early registration, which the Orland Park Public Library seems to have chosen to miss. If they had registered for the conference before March 22nd, the three-day-pass would have been $285/person; but since the OPPL chose to register after March 22nd, they are paying $300/person each for a three-day-pass. If they each attended just one day of the conference instead of three, the cost would only be $195/person.

It also appears they all intend to say in hotel rooms downtown instead of commuting from Orland Park to the conference every day, which would save the public a lot of money. Why do Orland Park Public Library employees — who work in a suburb of Chicago easily accessible by regular Metra commuter trains — need to stay in hotel rooms in downtown Chicago when they could just commute from the suburbs for this conference?

Additionally, the OPPL announced it would be spending another $750 to send Library Board President Nancy Wendt Healy to the conference as well. Over the years, Healy has traveled to many of these conferences. A few years ago, she made taxpayers cough up a small fortune to pay for her and Mary Weimar to wing off to New York City for another ALA conference. What’s the point in sending the same board member to the same conferences over and over again? If the point is to educate board members, then why not spread the experience around to other members of the Board besides Healy?

If Healy hasn’t learned anything worthwhile by now — and she’s been to multiple versions of this same event — then she’s clearly never going to learn anything and the experience is wasted on her.

It should also be noted that the American Library Association is a private lobbying group that often pressures public bodies to act contrary to the needs and wishes of communities. This is well-documented in the book SHUT UP!: The Bizarre War that One Public Library Waged Against the First Amendment, where members of the ALA’s Orwellian-sounding “Office for Intellectual Freedom” encouraged the Orland Park Public Library board and staff to intimidate and silence the public when community members demanded that the OPPL stop allowing child pornography to be accessed and other sex crimes to occur in this suburban public library.

After funneling registration fees to the ALA, the OPPL Board will also vote on April 17th to send another 16 staff members to two other conferences, spending almost $3,000 more for that.

Whenever the Orland Park Public Library wants more taxpayer money (to squander), they threaten that unless a tax levy is raised that children’s story time programming will be canceled and they will not be able to buy any more Braille books for the blind and whole orchestras of tiny violins are conducted to tug at everyone’s heart-strings.

Why is it that children’s programming is always threatened unless taxes are raised or more taxpayer funds are diverted to the OPPL? Why is it never announced that conference spending will have to be cut and OPPL staffers won’t be able to sleep in fancy hotels and eat meals on the public dime at a trade show unless the levy is raised yet again?

If these conferences were truly so vital and if they actually did benefit the community, wouldn’t the Orland Park Public Library (and other public libraries) want to highlight their importance whenever possible and at the very least explain what the public gets out of sending so many staffers to these things annually?

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5 replies »

  1. This is not new. Libraries by far are the least accountable. You have a director who is managed by trustees, most have no idea what libraries do or what services are in need. A majority of these people are in it for their own advancements and like any political office these trustees should have term limits.

    The salaries of these directors are outrageous and why do they need deputy directors and assistant directors? A recent workshop offered by the ALA American Library Association discusses the cutbacks and stress being placed upon employees to provide more services with less staff. The real question should be reigning in the salaries of top management hiring more part-time staff, quit remodeling libraries and actually offer programs on job skills and other current needs of that specific community.

    Most of these workshops or conferences are a waste of time, repetitious and provide no benefit to an organization that does not welcome change.

    One library recently purchased new furniture and cut the budget for books, databases and staff. Low level employees are always the first to go. This same library recently got approval to hire 2 deputy directors at a combined salary of $150,000.00. The director makes $125,000.00. Don’t forget to add the perks of benefits and 4 weeks vacation to start. That’s 3 people making $275,00.00 a year of our tax money.

    Thanks to the Edgar County Watch Dogs for sharing the truth.

  2. I believe conference attendance is a benefit – however, this seems to be excessive. A day pass for various employees would make sense – with no hotel stay.

    A Library Board Member should only attend the Conference at their own expense.

    This library is taking the taxpayers for a ride with these Conferences at the expense of other items.

  3. I can think of only one reason to stay in Chicago hotel rooms instead of commuting 40 minutes from Orland Park, other than because the library is giving you a handout because you support its facilitating child p0rn. And that reason is so you can drink alcohol and not have to commute back while inebriated. Is there another reason to get a hotel room for a 40 minute commute?

    There’s also the issue of the Orland Park library being the model library for ALA’s “Office for Intellectual Freedom”s facilitation of child p0rnography nationwide. Orland Park is the model for that, given all the times Chicago-based ALA OIF visited Orland Park. And when OIF visited, did they stay in a hotel overnight or did they commute?

    It appears to me Orland Park is again spending Orland Park money to further ALA’s child p0rn facilitation plans. Orland Park already spent half a million and raised taxes to get more so what’s a few thousand more, right?

    Kevin, I’ll pay for you to attend all meetings and shadow those Orland Park child p0rn facilitators.

  4. This library director is the very same one who essentially told a library employee not to let the door hit her on the way out after the employee reported sexual harassment due to Internet p0rn viewing patrons.

    And Mary Weimar did that out of obedience to ALA’s pro child p0rn policy.

    This library director is the very same one who essentially allowed and covered up child p0rnography viewing.

    And Mary Weimar did that out of obedience to ALA’s pro child p0rn policy.

    This library director is the same one who allowed the censorship of children’s books by Rush Limbaugh and who refused to a patron (the author) when he asked for recommended books, in part because the director, the former PR employee, and the then and existing elected library trustee hated gays, or so it appears in my opinion.

    And Mary Weimar did that out of obedience to ALA’s pro child p0rn policy.

    This library director allowed the library to squander, what, a half million dollars, all to thwart open government laws, almost always in a losing effort, and resulting in a tax increase to pay for more legal stonewalling to protect child p0rn viewing — and the lawyers even wrote an opinion saying not to report child p0rn viewers because that might invade their library patron right to privacy.

    And Mary Weimar did that out of obedience to ALA’s pro child p0rn policy.

    I could go on.

    And now Mary Weimar is getting thousands more in another paid trip to another library conference?

    At some point you have to ask just how stupid are the people in Orland Park, just how much do they condone homophobia, just how much more sexual harassment can they stand, are there no limits to this library director’s ability to facilitate child p0rn in that community. Hello? Anyone doing anything to stop this farce?

    I know some people have done a lot to expose it, but it’s exposed now. Can we get these people removed already? The homophobes? The sexual harassment overlookers? The child p0rn facilitators?

    All my opinion, of course, though one simply needs to read Shut Up as mentioned in the report above.

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