The public library in suburban Maywood closed its doors Saturday and will not reopen until funding can be secured.
It’s a place to read, use a computer and for teens to stay out of trouble. But now, the Maywood Library is closed due to a lack of funding.
Employees say it will affect hundreds of people who come every day to read, study and look for jobs.
Longtime resident and library user Marva Dawkins calls it a crisis.
“For us to lose this it’s like losing the heart of the community. It just doesn’t make a lot of sense,” Dawkins said.
The Library District, which is separate from the village is over a half-million dollars in debt. Dozens of angry residents filled the library this afternoon to hear board members explain the situation.
“We have been pursuing funding actively, strenuously, we have left no stone unturned, said Elliot Wimbush, Library Board member.
Board members said that negotiations to get more funding have come up short, and calls for help to the village have gone unanswered.
15-year-old Shakala Ross said teens in Maywood use the library as an alternative to being home alone or roaming the streets after school.
“It’s actually a safe place to be. It is a good place for kids to get off the streets because some of my friends that come to the library now don’t have a place to go,” Ross said.
It’s a surprising turn of events for the nearly 140-year-old institution. In 1994, residents voted to expand the library from less than 1,000 square feet to 40,000 square feet.
“For us to abandon this it’s like losing hope in what we can create in this community,” said Maywood parent Tamika Thomas.
The Library Board is asking anyone who would like to help to donate at www.maywood.org.