Monday, January 6, 2014

Holiday Open House

In the days before Christmas, the Carol Stream Public Library hosted a special Holiday Open House--a day filled with special events, music, delicious refreshments, and sleigh rides in Armstrong Park with real reindeer! The library was packed with residents throughout the day and the event was a huge success. The Friends of the Carol Stream Library generously provided all of the cookies and beverages, and several of the library trustees supported by the STL organization were on hand to lend support.

Bonita Gilliam, one of the trustees elected to the Board last April, shared some of her thoughts about the event:

"I had a wonderful day at the Holiday Open House in our very own Carol Stream Library. Books, magazines and media were the backdrop for laughter, singing, bell ringing, sleigh rides, reindeer, and movies. Ooops! I almost forgot to mention Santa and his elves were also present.

It was heart-warming to see so many folks who came out on a cold winter day to share holiday fun. I had the best “job” a  Library Trustee  could ask for because I got to welcome our guests at the front door of the library. Let me share some pictures with you--taken by my husband David Gilliam. Mark your calendars and plan to join us next year. Thanks again, Carol Streamers for electing me to serve as your Trustee."

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Focus on Trustees: Bonita Gilliam at the ALA Convention

Bonita Gilliam is one of our newly elected library trustees, and like all of the other new trustees supported by the Support the Library organization, she brings a professional approach and a clear dedication to her position that makes her a valued and respected member of the Carol Stream Library Board. As evidence of that spirit of dedication and commitment, Dr. Gilliam took time out of her busy schedule this summer to attend the 2013 American Library Association Conference held at McCormick Place in Chicago. She did this so that she could stay current with the main issues facing public libraries in the 21st Century and to become familiar with new library materials and resources that our trustees may want to consider as they plan the future of our library.

Here are some notes and observations that she submitted to document the sessions that she attended during the ALA conference:

I attended “Nuts & Bolts for Trustees, Friends and Foundations” workshop all day on 6/28/13-- sponsored by United for Libraries, a division of the American Library Association (ALA).  A total of six panelists made informative presentations. Moderators were Trustees Shirley Bruursema , Kent District Library and Dora Sims, Birmingham Public Library and Trustee-at-Large, United For Libraries Board.

I also attended a session titled "Discussion on Fiduciary Responsibilities of Boards" that was led by Ruth Newell.  This segment was one of the main topics specifically designed for all Trustees present and I summarize here some of the main suggestions that Ms. Newell made during her presentation:
- Be Alert and Aware
- Be Knowledgeable
- New Trustees: Select an approved purchase and follow the $$$ from beginning to end
- Caution do not micro-manage

Another breakout session that I attended was an “Emergency Readiness” presentation for libraries. The presentation was timely and interesting but primarily targeted a public school setting.

As a sidebar, I met people from around the world: Canada, Nigeria, Alabama, England, Ohio,  France…and a former Carol Stream Friends member named Connie Messner. I invited her and all others to visit the library if they ever happen to visit Carol Stream. The total conference attendance was 26,000+ with over 780 venders gathered in the Exhibits Hall. As a first time attendee, I got caught up in collecting as many “badges” as I could.  I collected five before it dawned on me that I was overdoing it a bit!  Battling Blackhawks fans intent on partying at the downtown parade was an unexpected challenge in Chicago during both days I attended.

On June 29, I attended the “Soaring Higher: United for Libraries Leaders in Action” session. I enjoyed the presentations from seasoned members of group. The group is very dedicated. The take-away for me was--I am not ready to participate at this level…yet  Later that day, I attended a session titled, “How to Be an Effective Library Advocate”. I will share the handout on request.

During the conference, I visited the Exhibits Hall and wore myself out trying to “see it all” while collecting conference “swag” from vendors. I did get a few good books. I plan to donate a book on bullying to Cloverdale School. A couple of other advanced reader copies I acquired may prove suitable for the library shelves.

I was exhausted by the end and I had a great time at the ALA Conference. As a result of my experience, I feel more committed and better prepared to serve the Carol Stream Library.

The STL Committee is extremely proud of Bonita Gilliam and we are grateful for her dedication to our library and our community. Along with all of the other newly elected trustees, she brings a new sense of hope and optimism to our library.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Take the Library Property Survey

As you may know, the Carol Stream Library trustees recently posted a brief survey to get opinions from residents regarding the parcel of land on Kuhn Road that is currently owned by the library. It is a simple survey form with a single question listing the different options being considered, and the members of the Library Board are hoping to determine which option is most appealing to residents. The majority on the Board and the Library Director intended this to be an impartial process with no overt attempts to sway residents in any way.

With that in mind, we were extremely disappointed to see a letter printed in the Carol Stream Examiner yesterday written by David DeRango. Even though he purports to speak the “truth,” his letter was filled with many of the same false and misleading statements that he and the candidates he supported raised in the recent election. It should be noted that Mr. DeRango is hardly impartial on this issue since he, Dominick Jeffrey, Jerry Clark, and Michael Wade have all waged vicious campaigns of misinformation on this and many other issues related to the library in recent years.

The survey will be online until Sunday, September 15, and we encourage all residents to take a few moments to voice their opinions on this important issue. Here is a link to the survey:

It is a single-response survey with a space for comments, and residents who respond will also be asked to provide their names and addresses. This was done so that only Carol Stream residents can participate in the survey and so that the trustees can be sure that no resident has taken the survey more than one time.

If you have not yet completed the survey, please take a few moments today to register your opinion. Just as important, please encourage your friends and neighbors in Carol Stream to do the same so that the results are a true and accurate representation of the opinions of village residents.

Friday, May 17, 2013

New Board Gets Down to Business

Director Susan Westgate talks with Jim Bailey and Nadia Sheikh
The five new trustees on the Carol Stream Library Board were sworn in by DuPage County Associate Judge Rob Douglas at the May 15 board meeting in a board room filled to capacity by residents who came to congratulate them and show their support. This was a ceremonial re-creation of the actual swearing-in procedures that were conducted by Rob Douglas on May 1 in the Business Center of the library witnessed by Library Director Susan Westgate. The five new trustees took this proactive course of action when it became clear that former trustee Michael Wade was intent on rushing through a sale of the Kuhn Road property in what he thought were his last days in office.

The new board got down to business immediately after the oaths of office were administered, and the main item on the agenda was the status of the Kuhn Road property. They first listened to an update from the realtors who have listed the property, and they heard more about the plans of a potential buyer, ManorCare, who is interested in building a 120-bed rehabilitation and convalescent center on the site. The board then stated its intent to study the issues in more detail and hire an experienced real estate attorney to advise them on the best course of action.

New Board President Jim Bailey along with the four new trustees—Bonita Gilliam, Patricia Johnson, Edward Jourdan, and Nadia Sheikh—are clearly demonstrating a more intelligent and responsible approach than the previous board had shown, and it is quite evident that they intend to keep the public informed during every step of the deliberations, something that former president Michael Wade had not done. Mr. Bailey was forced to file a Freedom of Information Act request to try to get information about the negotiations that Mr. Wade has conducted privately with the realtors and attorneys, but when Mr. Wade supplied the requested e-mail documents, many sections were redacted. It is easy to see why Mr. Bailey and the new trustees feel the need to make a “fresh start” on all matters relating to the Kuhn Road property.

Bonita Gilliam was one of five trustees who took the oath of office on May 15.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Thank You Mary Hudspeath!

At the Carol Stream Library Board meeting on April 17, Mary Hudspeath received a framed document containing the words of a special resolution that was passed to honor her 10 years of service to the library and the community. Mary has been a tireless and devoted advocate for the library during her term of service as a library trustee and also in her efforts as a leader of the Friends of the Carol Stream Library. Before the resolution was read, Mary also heard words of thanks from many people in the audience who spoke of her dedication to the library.

The April 17 meeting marked the end of Mary Hudspeath's official term as a library trustee, but it also marked the end of the terms of Michael Wade, Jerry Clark, and Susan Galle--three incumbent candidates who were defeated by the efforts of the Support the Library Carol Stream committee and all of the voters in Carol Stream who soundly rejected them at the polls in favor of new trustees who will work to restore integrity and fiscal responsibility to the Board.

At the next scheduled meeting at 7:30 pm on May 15, Jim Bailey will be sworn in for a new term on the Board along with newly elected trustees Bonita Gilliam, Patricia Johnson, Edward Jourdan, and Nadia Sheikh. We invite all residents to join us at the meeting to welcome our new trustees and to celebrate the start of a new and more positive era for our library and our community.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


The voters of Carol Stream made their voices heard loud and clear on Election Day as they swept out Michael Wade and his running mates and elected all five of the STL candidates to fill the open seats on the Library Board. The margin of victory was large and decisive, and it is clear that Carol Stream residents were ready for a change and a new beginning.

The Support the Library Carol Stream organization would like to thank the many fine citizens of Carol Stream for supporting our cause, endorsing our candidates, and mobilizing the vote on Election Day. Our victory is a shared success, and we could not have done it without the help and passionate support of the many Carol Stream residents who rose up to “take our library back”!

Former Director Ann Kennedy summed up the feelings of many people on our committee in her statement in the Daily Herald: "The American system of government is not broken when a group of concerned citizens can rally against bad government and give it back to the people.”

The healing process on the Library Board has now begun, and we are confident that the newly elected trustees will help turn the page on one of the darkest episodes in the history of our library and begin to restore integrity and decency to our library and our community. Congratulations to our new trustees Jim Bailey, Bonita Gilliam, Patricia Johnson, Edward Jourdan, and Nadia Sheikh!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

A Special Endorsement From Lynn O'Dell

The five STL candidates recently received a special and very meaningful endorsement from Lynn O’Dell, the original Library Director and a highly respected citizen who guided our library for 41 years from 1964-2005. There is not a single person in our community who has invested more time or effort into our library than Lynn O’Dell, and so her endorsement is especially significant to voters in this important election. Here is the text of her endorsement:

“I hope you will join me, Lynn O’Dell, in supporting Jim Bailey, Bonita Gilliam, Patricia Johnson, Edward Jourdan, and Nadia Sheikh for the open trustee positions on the Carol Stream Library Board. I know them personally and you can believe me when I say they will continue Carol Stream Library’s tradition of excellent service to the public. As Director of the library for 41 years from 1964-2005, I can proudly say that there was always a supportive and ethical Board of Trustees during that time. I’ve remained close to the library since my retirement and can assure you that during my tenure and the years that followed, the leadership has always acted ethically. Prior Boards have never committed illegal actions, misappropriated funds, or neglected their duties. These accusations made by the current Board leadership (Wade, Clark, Galle, DeRango, and Jeffrey) are completely false. Former Board members have been accused by these people of not listening to Carol Stream residents and this is far from the truth. The 2010 renovation project is proof that the elected officials were listening and provided much needed space for patrons to view the collection, access computers, and enjoy the relaxing and inviting atmosphere.”  –Lynn O’Dell

Lynn O’Dell’s endorsement comes on the heels of the major endorsement by the editors of the Examiner of Carol Stream who were extremely critical of the current board and wrote “A major housecleaning is in order and a group of very active and concerned library patrons has stepped up with mops in hand."

Darrel Malcom, Republican Committeeman from Bloomingdale Precinct 18, also endorsed all five STL candidates and wrote that “the outcome of local election for local offices probably impacts us more regarding services and taxes we pay.” The library race is not a partisan election, but high praise from a respected conservative leader underscores the fiscal responsibility that Jim Bailey, Bonita Gilliam, Patricia Johnson, Edward Jourdan, and Nadia Sheikh will bring to the Library Board.

Election Day is Tuesday, April 9. Please take time to vote for these outstanding candidates to restore integrity to our library board.