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Why a Chicago branch library may have no books today
If you pop into the hard-to-find Galewood-Mont Clare branch of the Chicago Public Library this afternoon, you may see a library with no books on the shelves.
Members of the Galewood Residents Organization plan to check out all 2,700 or so books in an effort to get attention for their efforts to get a bigger branch library.
The branch library has been in a room in the Rutherford-Sayre Park fieldhouse since it lost a bigger space it rented at Grand and Sayre three years ago. There are no evening or weekend hours, no wi-fi, no exterior entrance and no computers. It has only about 2,700 circulating books. And there’s not even a drop box for people who can’t come during the day to return library materials.
So why check out all the books?
“We are hoping to make a statement to the board of directors that we are passionate about our library, that we value our library, that we hope to see improvements in our library, and that that we need to be paid attention to,” said Neal Wankoff, an active member of the Galewood Residents Association. Wankoff calculates that if 90 association members each checks out 30 books, the shelves can be cleared.
Wankoff said the community was happy with its earlier branch library, but that the room in the fieldhouse at 6871 W. Belden Ave is only about 500 square feet, and it is two miles to the larger West Belmont or Dunning branches.
“A lot of people do not even know the library is in the fieldhouse,” he said. Only about 500 books circulated in January, he said.
“If we are a small branch and don’t circulate, we will be at the bottom of list for improvements,” he said.
The Galewood Residents Association is holding a 5 p.m. event Monday at the Rutherford-Sayre Park fieldhouse to raise awareness about library, he said.
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