Crystal Lake Library Accountability

From Lakewood’s Steve Willson comes this letter that was published in the Northwest Herald and is re-posted here with permission:

 Library usage down, cost up

Total visits to the Crystal Lake Public Library peaked in fiscal 2010 at about 379,000. 

Patronization of Crystal Lake Library since 2009.

By FY2020, that number dropped to 211,000. 

In FY2022, total visits were only 105,000. 

In current fiscal year, total visits are unlikely to reach 140,000. 

The total number of items circulated is down 60% from the peak.

But the library board purchased all the properties around the library, at well above market prices, to build a new library — that the voters turned down. 

What the proposed 2017 library property would look like from above.

They actually bought one property after the referendum failed! 

Election results of the 2016 Crystal Lake Library bond referendum.
Land purchased by the Crystal Lake Library for expansion purposes.

They spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on plans for a new library — that the voters turned down.  Following the failed referendum, they spent hundreds of thousands of dollars remodeling the library.  What benefit did the taxpayers derive from this expenditure?

The library’s budget for the current fiscal year is 23% higher than expenditures two years ago. 

Divide the total number of unique items checked by expenditures, and it cost the taxpayers $17.50 for every book checked out. 

Other libraries in the area spend much less on a per capita basis and yet provide essentially identical services.

In short, the long-run trend is severely negative, and at some point, one has to ask why does the Crystal Lake library cost so much? 

Who’s watching out for the taxpayers? 

Not the library board, and not the City Council, which appoints the library board.

It’s time for some accountability.


Crystal Lake Library Accountability — 12 Comments

  1. Perhaps this library board should use the Algonquin Township method in using secret banking accounts and then investing in hundreds of $100 dollar debit gift cards to be given to those who can help you in the future.McHenry County synonymous with Madigan type of influence peddling but at a smaller scale.

  2. we don’t need no lie-beries… stop sucking our tax dollars…

  3. They (CL included) seem to now be primarily places of; Game, Video, Music rentals for those that cant figure how to get them online.

    Or for those who need to use a computer, printer, scanner or conference room.


    Not so much, but they make up the biggest footprints of these places now.

    Some are also drop off babysitting services, after school babysitters, homeless wandering in sometimes (not too much out here, but get a few)…so build, plan, remodel, downsize for the future with all that in mind.

    Good chance for more focus/use of; Community training, hobbies, sharing, work from homers who need an office space (rent it out) etc. vs just getting a book.

    And very few are QUIET anymore–heck sometimes the Librarians are the Loudest.

  4. “we don’t need no lie-beries… stop sucking our tax dollars…” If ever there was a need, here it is.

  5. why does a guy from lakewood care they do not pay taxes for it but they sure try to use it for free

  6. “Lakewood’s Steve Willson”.

    You announce him like he is royalty.

    Enough of the man crush.

    Willson is a nobody.

  7. A nobody, eh?

    Hmmmmmm, but aren’t you the real nobody Joseph?

    Stop your queer drag shows at local libraries…. Nobody wants your mental illness or porn for kids books.

  8. You can find Monk, Lil Joey and Porky cruising the stacks containing Gender Queer and I Am Gay while stalking young children like the pResident they voted for.

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