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January 2012
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Andrew Patner on Arts and Culture

Critic's Choice: Case of the Mondays

Andrew comments on the new decision that will keep Chicago Public Libraries closed on Mondays.

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  • Camille Stagg


    I heard your Critic’s Choice, a replay from May, this morning for the first time. I applaud you for airing your opinions about the importance of public libraries, and your criticism of our mayor and Chicago City Council for voting to close Chicago Public Libraries on Mondays. And I’m glad you complimented our late Mayor Harold Washington. It was a sad day when he passed away!

    Agree with you! How tragic that people cannot use the libraries on holidays, such as next Monday, Martin Luther King Day. Our society needs to open more educational opportunities for our youth, which helps keep them “off the streets” and allows them to nourish their minds. Seniors, and others in all age groups needing to use computers and library services, will suffer, too. In this bad economy, the free public libraries serve an even greater need… a wholesome alternative to movie theaters, video games, etc. that all cost money.
    For 12 years, I have been teaching food classes at two colleges as well as libraries: suburban and city. Recently, I was told that more cuts in staff and hours would be coming at CPL—tragic! There are many other areas where the budget can be trimmed.


    Camille Stagg, Food, WIne and Travel Journalist; Author (16 books); Teacher/lecturer; Consultant

  • Wonderful, apt and important piece, Andrew! Chicago’s public libraries are one of her greatest treasures, and need to be treated as such… bravo!

  • Mona K. Stern

    That was a great commentary. I had great hopes for Rahm Emanuel but it’s obvious he values graft more than he does the people of Chicago.

  • Camille, Blue, and Mona K., Thsnks so much for your comments! But this was NOT a repeat from May or any other time — recorded yesterday, Tuesday January 10, 2012! 😉

  • Jeanne M.

    Bravo! As a children’s school librarian I can only say that you hit it Andrew, right on the mark. Libraries are vital spaces for intellectual growth and a respite from the business of daily life. Shame on Rahm Emanuel for even considering “mucking up” such a crown jewel in the city of Chicago. I applaud you for such an eloquent commentary. Yet another dart thrown to pierce the lives of everyday people just trying to get through their day. Thank you Andrew for understanding our need to read.

  • Jeanne M.

    To clarify, the dart was thrown by our Mayor.

  • Camille Stagg

    Dear Andrew,

    Just checked your blog, after hearing your commentary twice more…including this morning. And again, I heard the host announce that it was taped in May. I was doing some work at the time, so I may have heard it wrong…that is possible. When I first heard that, I was surprised, since the city ruling was recent.

    Several days ago, I spoke to one of the librarians at Jefferson Park Library, one of my contacts—she asked me to present a lecture on the First Thanksgiving last November 5, and I did (I was married into the Bradford family, and have recipes from the descendants of Gov. William Bradford). The library had a small budget then. This year, no budget for programs! Tragic.

    Need to leave for work soon…have a nice day!

    Enjoy your commentaries.


  • Thanks, Camille. There was indeed a copy error in the announcers’ script on Wednesday an Saturday. It was repaired for Sunday! Thanks for bringing this to my attention!