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Local Government

Kaneville Public Library mum on why director was terminated, facility was closed

KANEVILLE – In the wake of the termination of former Kaneville Public Library Executive Director Lynda Fillipp, the library's board president, Karen Kneller, made it clear that she would not address the media during a Sept. 12 meeting at the library.

When addressed by a freelance writer for Shaw Media about answering any questions, Kneller responded: “Nope. We thank you for your questions, but we’re not going to answer any of them this evening. No comment.”

The main questions that were not allowed to be asked would’ve pertained to the reasoning behind the removal of Fillipp on Aug. 24, as well as why the library was closed after her termination.

Lynn Meredith, a former employee who was let go along with Fillipp, attended the meeting and addressed the board during public comment, speaking as a patron of the library and not as an employee who was terminated on the same day the library closed.

“I wanted to express my displeasure at the closing of a library, and – in my understanding – a library is a public trust and that you report to the taxpayers, and it’s just not ever necessary to close a library,” she said. “What could be possibly so dire that you’d need to close the doors of the library?

“We have a situation where the library’s director is let go, I’m let go, the library’s closed and the hours are reduced to accommodate the one remaining employee to the point where it was kicking out a patron. I just don’t understand what would be that dire.”

Meredith also pointed out that by closing the library, not only were Kaneville residents affected, but also those in other communities who rely on the Multitype Automation Group in Cooperation – or MAGIC – consortium of libraries that share a library automation system.

“I think you’ve failed to realize what you’ve done hasn’t only affected the Kaneville residents,” Meredith said, “but all of the libraries in the MAGIC system. You’ve stopped the flow of books, and I don’t know how you could legally do this. I’d also like to know who the library board reports to other than taxpayers because it seems this inappropriate action should be investigated.”

Esther Steel, a former longtime board member for the Geneva Public Library, also attended the meeting and spoke during public comment.

“I want to trust that what you did was in the best interest of the library, but having said that, I guess my biggest concern is why you determined to shut the library down,” she said. “I believe the library is the strongest, most important entity in the community and brings everybody together. 

“It’s a place for innovation, thoughts and sharing ideas. It’s really the place that every person in the district can find to be a safe place for education and information, and it touches the lives of the community from infancy to 100 and you took that away.”

Steel offered to help out during the transitional time, citing her 16 years of involvement with the Geneva Public Library. But it is unknown whether the library will take her up on her offer as the board refused to comment.

The library has reopened but is now only open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. It used to be open Monday through Saturday. With this change, the hours of the library being open has dropped nearly in half from 33 to 17 per week.

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