Monday, July 28, 2008

You - Get the AED! You - Call 911!

Last week, when our Library was closed for tiling, Cindy smartly thought to use one day to get our CPR training updated. A few years ago the Mayor decided he wanted all City employees CPR trained and equipped with an AED (automated external defibrillator, the machine that shocks the heart back to a normal rhythm in an emergency). After the training, some of the staff started talking about who they would, or wouldn't, perform CPR on. Everyone could think of several patrons that they'd rather not go mouth-to-mouth with. Fortunately, our Library has a mask with a filter and one-way valve that goes over the victim's face that the rescuer blows into, keeping the two separated. Others wondered about what responsibility a staffer is undertaking by performing CPR on a patron. I looked up "Good Samaritan Law Illinois" on Google and found the following in Illinois Annotated Statutes. Looks like we are pretty safe.

(745 ILCS 49/10)
Sec. 10. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation; exemption from civil liability for emergency care. Any person currently certified in basic cardiopulmonary resuscitation who complies with generally recognized standards, and who in good faith, not for compensation, provides emergency cardiopulmonary resuscitation to a person who is an apparent victim of acute cardiopulmonary insufficiency shall not, as the result of his or her acts or omissions in providing resuscitation, be liable for civil damages, unless the acts or omissions constitute willful and wanton misconduct.
(Source: P.A. 89-607, eff. 1-1-97; 90-742, eff. 8-13-98.)

(745 ILCS 49/12)
Sec. 12. Use of an automated external defibrillator; exemption from civil liability for emergency care. As provided in Section 30 of the Automated External Defibrillator Act, any automated external defibrillator user who in good faith and without fee or compensation renders emergency medical care involving the use of an automated external defibrillator in accordance with his or her training is not liable for any civil damages as a result of any act or omission, except for willful and wanton misconduct, by that person in rendering that care.
(Source: P.A. 95-447, eff. 8-27-07.)

Stephen Bertrand
Assistant Director

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Enough Already

The trend may be to down size, go green, and to lower your carbon foot print, but today I am pondering going bigger, adding more, and using even more energy.

Up until six months ago, it was rare when someone actually had to wait to use a public computer at our library. Then last fall we started noticing that the public computers started filling up earlier in the day, and wait times during our peak hours were becoming a regular occurrence. In January we began setting up a "temporary" teen laptop lab - making 10 more computers available for public use during our peak hours. We were meeting the demand, wait times were near extinction..... until a month ago.

Because of construction, we have had to take 20% of our public computers for adults out of service (three computers) but I am fretting that even with these computers back in service it won't be enough. Today we have wait times of 50 minutes. I am coming to conclusion that when it comes to technology, it is never going to be enough.

Cindy Fuerst
Library Director

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

I'm a Taxpayer!!!

I'm a Taxpayer!!

We get scores of complaints from non-taxpayers about having to pay for cards. One peeved patron want-to-be actually put his "thoughts" into writing. This is a good example of how these exchanges normally go. Grammatical and spelling errors were left in place.


I went to your Library a few days ago hoping to get cards for my family. I was told I would have to pay a extravagant fee. I find this insulting I pay taxes to kankakee. My mailing address is kankakee. My children attend Kankakee school. I pay taxes to kankakee county. we shop in kankakee and I work in kankakee . but because my family live in rural area we are not able to receive your services . This is insulting to me. Especially when probably 70 percent or better of your members don't pay any kind of tax to support the library. I didn't think a public library was a institution for only those who can pay but I guess I am wrong. As a working member of society I do work for the state of illinois at shapiro center. I guess this is just another education for me only Filthy Rich or Dirt Poor Matter in this sick society while working class will have to carry them on there backs.


Dear Mr. ----------,

Thank you for taking the time to write to us about your concerns about the Kankakee Public Library fees. Unfortunately, you are suffering from a very common misperception about how our library is funded and how the fees are determined for cards. Let me outline for you our funding sources. We are a department of the City of Kankakee, just as is the Police Department, Fire Department and Department of Public Works. As a City department, our funding comes almost exclusively from the property taxes of people who live inside the City limits. The post office causes untold amount of confusion by assigning Kankakee addresses to individuals such as you who do not live in the City of Kankakee. This is done for the efficient delivery of mail, not for the determination of who pays property taxes. The remaining small portion of our funding comes from various grants, fees, fines and donations. The other taxing bodies you mentioned, Kankakee School District 111, Kankakee County, and Illinois state sales taxes contribute nothing monetarily to the running of the library.

Another misconception is that the people who live in the City of Kankakee get a "free" library card. This is completely untrue. Citizens within the city limits are forced to pay an average of $150 on their property tax bill for library service each year, whether they actually come into the library to get their card or not. A person living outside the City, having paid nothing for library service, has the option of paying the $150 fee to get service or declining library service and paying nothing. Either way, the service must be paid for. The $150 you were asked to pay is set by Illinois law, being the average amount a Kankakee tax payer pays for library support. This number was not arrived at arbitrarily.

As for your assertion that 70% of our members do not pay any kind of tax, I can assure you that 100% of our library card holders pay property taxes either directly on a home or business they own in the City, or as a renter of an apartment or home where tax costs are passed on to them via higher rents. You may believe that the poor and homeless who you see in the library have cards and don't pay taxes. Again, this is wrong. We do have Salvation Army residents and other poor or homeless in our library reading our materials, but unless they can show a permanent address where they receive mail, (the Salvation Army address does not satisfy this requirement), these individuals do not have a library card and so can not check out materials. Anyone is welcome to come in the library and use our collection. However, being in the library does not equal having a library card.

The hard working people of the City of Kankakee struggle to pay ever increasing property taxes in difficult economic times so that they can support one of the premier public libraries in the State of Illinois. The least we can do is require outside visitors to pay an equal amount for the same privileges.

If you have any more questions please feel free to contact me,

Stephen J. Bertrand
Assistant Director
Kankakee Public Library
201 East Merchant Street
Kankakee IL 60901