Reclaiming Our Library: Toward a Stronger Urbana Free Library: Welcome!


Background Information

In June 2013 the Library removed 9600 adult nonfiction books in only 4 days. Thousands of books about art, religion, home improvement and more were boxed up and sent to a vendor.

The director told staff to discard books quickly – just by looking at lists instead of by using professional knowledge. 

According to reports, the director pressured and bullied Adult Services librarians into discarding books that the public wants to keep in the library. 

Libraries regularly “weed” books that are outdated, in bad condition, or no longer relevant to the public, but it shouldn’t happen this way.

What’s next to go? 

Led by an outside consultant, the Library created a strategic plan for big changes. Some of these planned changes have been made public. Some have not been articulated publicly by the Administration, but have been described by various staff members. For example, there are plans to significantly reduce the magazine, CD and DVD collections. Some public spaces such as the 1st floor reading rooms may be repurposed.

What’s the bigger picture? 

People in the community are mostly unaware of these plans. Our voices have not been heard. We want these plans to be made public and a chance to get clear answers. 

The Library belongs to the public and the people of Urbana should help decide its future. 

How has the Administration responded? 

Hundreds of Urbana citizens and library lovers from around the country have contacted the Director and the Board, to demand answers. 

The Administration has blamed staff in press interviews and has yet to answer our questions. 

The Board has said it will open the Strategic Plan for comment, but will our voices be heard? 

We need information, but staff who have come forward to talk have been threatened and have no protection from retaliation.

How can I speak out? 

The Library Board meets Tuesday, July 9 at 7:30 pm in the library’s auditorium. We hope you’ll come and tell your friends about it. 

Contact information for the Board is here: 

Contact the Director at or 217-367-4057

Thanks for the great information, Anna!

Reclaiming Our Library: Toward a Stronger Urbana Free Library: Welcome!