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Continued Harassment of Library Workers in Illinois

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The last two weeks have been a field day for right-wing groups in Illinois, who have put time and energy into harassing library workers and users in the western Chicago suburbs.

On January 18, two groups hosted a “peaceful protest” inside the St. Charles Public Library, wherein at least 15 adults and 35 children paraded through the library maskless. Members of the two groups filmed the effort and cheered across their social media about the success of the targeted campaign. In response to that and threats received by the staff of the library, the facility closed its doors to in-person use and held an emergency board meeting. Details of the harassment and subsequent actions are available on the library’s website. Members of the two groups involved have noted across their social media that they’ve been suspended from the library due to breaking “laws” (they were suspended for failing to follow policy about recording within the library).

This week, Patriot Takes — a page dedicated to highlighting the actions of right-wing conservative groups — shared a video on Twitter of a library patron harassing library workers in another suburban facility. It went viral.

The library is the Montgomery, Illinois, branch of the Oswego Public Library District, located 15 minutes from the St. Charles Public Library. The person who filmed the scene was identified on social media as Joey Fuscone, a St. Charles, Illinois, resident.

These coordinated efforts will continue, and library workers deserve your support. Write a letter to members of the Oswego Public Library Board in support of their policies and their staff who stood up to the harassment. The board meets tonight, January 26, 2022, at 5:30 pm central time. If you’re local and would like to attend, the meeting is being held at the Montgomery location.

Find more news and stories of interest from the book world in Breaking in Books.