Keep the Park Ridge Public Library a FREE Public Space for Everyone

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In the summer of 2015, the Library Board of the Park Ridge Public Library began deliberations regarding private tutors’ use of public  library space for educational advancement of local youth.  Since then, the Board is considering a proposed policy of charging $10 rent per hour/per table for tutors to use public library table space and requiring private tutor registration at the public library.  This charge, which will surely be passed on to the student, does not address how this solves a problem which has not been raised by library staff.  The old mantra, “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it” applies here, as there is no record of patrons or staff complaining about tutors using the library.  

The Board will meet and vote on this issue during the January Board Meeting on Tuesday, January 19,2016 (please note a new date) in City Hall.  Please show your support to our library and our community with less regulation and restrictions in our public space. 

Let the Board hear our objections and ask them to please stop targeting tutors who use the library to simply help students in need of extra educational instruction.

Encourage the Board to REJECT the proposed policy of charging a table fee for tutors only, while not charging other income-related use of the library by lawyers, accountants, bankers, financial planners, insurance agents, chess coaches, life coaches, etc.  Students will be the unfortunate casualty of the proposed policy.   

The mission of the library is to provide a public space with access to information and resources to the community.  Allowing tutors to work with students in the public space of a library provides a safe setting to support educational advancement, and provides access to library resources which fosters a lifelong love of learning.  The library provides the ideal setting where students and tutors can work together to enhance educational capability and access to information, which ultimately betters the lives of our students and community at large for the future.  

Tutors’ use of the library is being singled out by the Library Board.  Imposing a mandatory library fee and registration for tutors only raises several troubling discriminatory and policy implementation concerns for the the library and its' staff, not to mention the dangerous precedent it would set.  

Consider the following questions:

  • If the Board decides to mandate registration and charge a table fee only to tutors in the library, will ALL residents who use the public library be subject to privacy invading questions upon entry? Will ANY educational, athletic, arts, childcare service, etc., also be required to register and be charged a similar arbitrarily determined rent in the future?
  • Will other businesses and individuals who use library space for professional services be subject to the same registration and fees? If not, why are tutors only being discriminated against?
  • Who will be given access to the registration information provided by tutors?
  • What burden will be placed on library staff who currently support the use of public library space by tutors as this results in improved library material utilization and knowledge by those receiving instruction?
  • What additional costs will the library incur to implement the proposed registration and payment of fees?
  • Why make the students who choose private tutoring suffer the burden of an arbitrary fee imposed by the Library Board?

The Board arrived at this arbitrary fee of $10 without any apparent cost/benefit analysis, research or study regarding what will be involved in monitoring patron use of the library, collecting fees, accounting for payment of fees, issuing receipts, administrative burden/record keeping involved in maintaining registration lists, etc.  

In addition, information provided by the Board lacks transparency regarding their plans as to how the funds will be utilized ("the general fund" is not transparency), and how the library staff will enforce registration for use of a public, taxpayer funded space.  The library will now need additional staff to police all library patrons who use this public space as it is designed according to the library’s stated mission: “to provide the community with access to information, recreation and enlightenment by promoting materials, programs and services.”  The Board has not demonstrated that the members or their staff have considered the stress, wasted time, and cost burden this places on library staff, most of whom support the tutors’ use of the library.  Has the library staff or management been consulted regarding this proposed change?

Please support our tutors, students who benefit from their expertise, and the library mission to provide access to learning and enrichment for our community.  Tutors are unfairly being discriminated against while fostering a utilization of library resources as the library continues to experience declining circulation issues.  Let the Board know that you say “NO” to "tutor targeting" and the dangerous precedent it will set by signing the petition if you believe public spaces should remain free for the enhancement of youth education in Park Ridge.