Note: I am going to be writing future posts about anti-library rhetoric both in the past and now currently spewing from the teabagger I-got-mine-screw-everyone-else contingent. I am starting with this incident because it is a powerful lesson in just how mean-spirited and selfish these people really are.
A wealthy suburb's village board decides to fire most of its library's staff, including the head librarian. A brave 11 year old girl stands up during a council meeting to report that her library use has become much less beneficial without the assistance of educated, experienced staff.
A very nasty, wealthy, 69 year old lawyer, a Mr. Xinos, responds to her in an incredibly rude, hateful way that makes her and her friend cry--and then later brags, "I wanted that kid to lose sleep that night," because he wanted to teach a little girl a "lesson".
He is extremely bitter that the library even exists; he had sued to stop it from being built, and was unsuccessful. So he ran for a seat on the village board in order to do something about the evil, terrible library--and lost. So he has been working to get other people elected to the board who are anti-library.
Xinos has also shown what a totally awesome person he is by successfully fighting against a plan to bring subsidized housing for seniors into town by declaring, "I don't want to live next to poor people. I don't want poor people in my town." Yeah, those senior citizens are really going to wreck the neighborhood, what with grandma prostituting herself on the street corners and gramps selling drugs and spraying graffiti on every possible surface.
Xinos' roots, surprisingly, do not involve a silver spoon or trust fund. He himself grew up poor, worked in a cafeteria, and joined the Marines before becoming a lawyer and making money. He's also quite the classy sort; the Daily Herald stated that he "sprinkles the F-word throughout his conversations. He dismisses a recent library event involving dogs with a blunt three-word rant in which he bookends swear words around the word 'that.'" This poor guy's delicate sensibilities are going to be terribly marred by the presence of senior citizens, educated children, and a library.
A fairly important piece of this puzzle is that Xinos does not actually have children of his own. He seems to believe that because he is childless, he derives no benefit from the children (and adults for that matter) in his community becoming educated or having a safe community space for them to go outside of school. Xinos declares that the government should only build roads, fight fires, and have a police force, but fails to understand that the workers providing these services do not spring forth from the womb in full uniform, ready to fight crime and put out fires. Nor does he acknowledge that all of the people he receives services from on a daily basis, from his secretary, to his favorite restaurant's chef, to the mechanic who maintains his vehicle, and let's not forget the medical personnel needed to keep his senior-aged body working--all of these people have likely required the use of library services during their formative years, their higher education, and their continuing education.
Each of us relies on a number of other people in the world to do their jobs every day. Despite his attempts to live in a bubble (via gated community), even Xinos needs other people for his daily life to run smoothly. He seems to think that his wealth gives him independence, but I am going to go out on a limb here and say that it actually makes him more dependent on other people--those who don't have money have to do things for themselves; Xinos likely has a support staff that may include a maid, secretary, landscaper, personal assistant, and similar service personnel that do the things Xinos feels are beneath him. I'm also going to guess that he'd pitch a toddler-worthy tantrum if one of these people quit on him and he had to pick up his own dry cleaning for once, or wash a dish. Being able to throw money around does not mean you're not part of a community; it does not mean you do not rely on that community, and it does not mean you have no responsibilities toward that community.
A minor note I wanted to cover here is that, while Xinos is whining that a head librarian is making $98,000 a year, he fails to realize that librarians have to go through a significant amount of schooling (Andrew K, you can back me up here?). Do a web search for "Library Science" to understand just how much there is to becoming and being a librarian. There's also the consideration of the cost of living in that area. A librarian in my small hometown could live quite comfortably on half that, but $98K does not stretch as far in an affluent area like Oak Brook.
Sources and discussions: