This library is a joyful space for the 400,000 people who visit every year, and for the staff who serve them.
If you walk through the building, you will see people engaged in book clubs, or learning how to research their genealogy, or teens making cards for hospitalized kids, or seniors having a free lunch, or people learning English, or people voting early for the Presidential primaries.
Did I mention the 300,000 books, movies, music, video games and WiFi hot spots? Did I forget all the kids’ story times?
It is indeed a wonderful place, and I am honored that the people of Des Plaines have entrusted me to be the Director of their treasure.
In service to that trust, the Board of Trustees and I have developed many levels of security to protect everyone that visits the library, the library building itself and of course, the collections.
Our first line of protection is relying on the good intentions of the people who visit us and our Rules of Conduct which are posted throughout the building.
The Rules could be renamed “Common Sense Things Everybody Already Knows.”
For example: don’t disturb other people, don’t vandalize the building, don’t bring your non-service pets, and the perennial favorite, don’t steal.
These rules help me and the rest of staff protect our visitors and the taxpayers’ investment in this library.
Unfortunately, there are occasionally people who don’t follow the rules.
Depending on the severity of their actions, these people may be asked to leave for the day, or for three months or “indefinitely”.
This is how we protect the public and the public’s belongings.
There have been stories circulating lately that the library has barred a patron because this person moved a magazine from one room to another room within the library.
This story is incorrect, let me set the record straight.
First, the library protects the privacy of persons who are barred and the specifics of what they did. This puts me at a disadvantage, but here goes:
Nobody has ever been barred from the Des Plaines Public Library for simply moving an item from one space to another within the building.
Nobody has ever been barred from the library for accidently exiting the building without checking out library materials, either.
People are barred from the library when we have evidence they violated the Rules of Conduct, usually repeatedly and with intention.
The library’s security guards enforce the Rules of Conduct in the most discreet manner possible under the circumstances. In this circumstance, the security guards did just that.
When people are barred and they are remorseful, they talk with me or the Head of Security and we often restore their library privileges.
Perhaps that will happen in the sad situation chronicled in the newspaper recently.
And it IS sad.
The library followed the rules, and protected the taxpayers’ property.
We also protected the identity of the person who compromised that property, hoping that the situation could be resolved.
Notwithstanding the inaccurate stories and the finger-pointing at the library, we still hope for resolution.
The Des Plaines Public Library serves ALL of the 58,000 residents of Des Plaines with generosity and empathy.
DPPL and its staff are vigilant in keeping the library a safe, welcoming, and fiscally responsible place the whole community can enjoy.