Thousands of Elk Grove library patrons getting reduced access
About 11,000 Elk Grove Village residents who live west of Rohlwing Road in Schaumburg Township will lose some privileges at their hometown library as of May 1, officials said last week.
The change comes as a result of the Schaumburg Township District Library board's decision last July to end a more than 25-year-old tax-sharing agreement with the Elk Grove Village Public Library due to financial constraints.
Elk Grove library officials appealed to the Schaumburg Township library board to reconsider its decision not to renew the agreement, which expires April 30. But the board would not reverse its action, Elk Grove Village Library Director Lee Maternowski said.
"The problem is that once the agreement is ended, the Elk Grove library is no longer being funded to serve west of Rohlwing Road residents, and by state law is not empowered to provide library cards to areas that do not pay taxes to the Elk Grove library," Maternowski said.
Therefore, patrons who live west of Rohlwing Road -- about a third of the roughly 11,000 people have Elk Grove library cards -- will be treated as nonresidents or reciprocal borrowers and won't be able to use their Elk Grove library cards as of May 1, he added.
Maternowski said statistics show usage by west of Rohlwing Road residents is high.
By state law, patrons with a Schaumburg Township library card may still check out books at the Elk Grove library. However, access to certain programs and materials such as new DVD and Blu-ray rentals will be restricted, Maternowski said. They also will no longer get the library newsletter or be able to reserve meeting rooms.
Maternowski said officials sought legal advice whether a referendum could be held to determine the library preference for residents west of Rohlwing Road; however, it is not possible under current law.
"Despite every intention of the Elk Grove library to serve west of Rohlwing Road residents, that sector will lose full service status at the Elk Grove library as of May 1, 2012, if the Schaumburg library board does not renew the agreement," Maternowski said.
The tax-sharing deal originally was established to stop residents from being double-taxed because that territory of Elk Grove Village's municipal library overlapped with the Schaumburg Township library district. Until a 1983 referendum, residents of the western third of Elk Grove Village belonged and paid taxes to both libraries. A majority of voters supported joining the Schaumburg district.
Per the deal, Schaumburg Township library remitted a portion of tax revenue generated from Elk Grove Village residents to the Elk Grove library. That amounted to more than $200,000 in fiscal year 2011 -- and more than $3.4 million over the years. It makes up about 4 percent of Elk Grove library's roughly $4.6 million operating budget, and about 1.5 percent of Schaumburg library's $14.8 million operating budget for the 2011 fiscal year.
With declining property values and tax revenues, continuing that arrangement was unaffordable, Schaumburg Township library board President Robert Lyons said. To balance the library's operational budget, "we would have to draw money from our cash reserve fund," Lyons said.
"The couple hundred thousand dollars that we were dividing and giving to Elk Grove was in itself not the key factor so much as we had great concerns as to how much more money we were going to have in the future," he said.
Lyons said Schaumburg Township was once the second-wealthiest in the Chicago region in assessed value, but that's not something officials can count on for the immediate future.
Library services lostThese restrictions on Elk Grove Village residents west of Rohlwing Road take effect May 1 at the municipal library:
Ÿ Their library cards will be canceled
Ÿ They cannot reserve meeting rooms
Ÿ They cannot access online databases from the library website
Ÿ They cannot reserve items
Ÿ They won't receive library "Highlights" newsletters
Ÿ Cannot register for some adult programs as library cardholders get preference
Ÿ Cannot preregister for youth programs
Ÿ Cannot participate in Battle of the Books competition
Ÿ Cannot check out new fiction
Ÿ Cannot join various book clubs whether in-house or online
Ÿ Cannot download free eMusic, eAudio books, and eBooks
Ÿ Cannot reserve one-on-one sessions with librarians
Ÿ Cannot reserve one-on-one sessions with computer helpers
Ÿ Checkouts are limited to six CDs and six magazines
Ÿ Must bring own books to participate in book discussion groups
Ÿ Teachers in Schaumburg Township Elementary District 54 will no longer get Book Bags to supplement the curriculum
Source: Elk Grove Village Public Library