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Giannoulias ‘disgusted and disheartened’ by library threats, chides Republicans for their silence

Friday, Aug 25, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Background is here if you need it. Media advisory…

Giannoulias to Host Press Conference Highlighting Libraries and Literacy Program Grants, Totaling over $27 Million

Secretary Giannoulias to spotlight libraries and literacy programs across the state

Who: Illinois Secretary of State and State Librarian Alexi Giannoulias
Elected officials, librarians and literacy organizations

What: Secretary Giannoulias is hosting a press conference to announce the libraries and literacy programs awarded grants by his office. The grants help to support and encourage education, lifelong learning and adult literacy.

* Giannoulias’ response to a question about security resources for libraries

The truth of matter is our office has minimal resources and libraries are already struggling to have the resources they need. They’re also struggling to keep people working there because of these disgusting threats and intimidation that was occurring before these bomb threats. Some are forced to have security guards, most aren’t.

And on a grander scale, I’m so disgusted and disheartened with what’s taking place, especially this week. What the hell is wrong with people? They’re threatening to bomb libraries, because you have libraries were doing their job, which is nurturing kids? We should be putting librarians on a pedestal.

So to me, it’s a sad, sad week for Illinois. It’s a sad day for our country, sad week for our country. But I couldn’t be more proud of our librarians, who by the way continue to go to work every single day, even with these threats, even with this intimidation, the likes of which they’ve never seen. So, disheartening and dangerous.

And I want to make one other point on that, because I know I’m not supposed to talk politics and political parties are irrelevant to me on day like today, we never ask anyone what party they are, we don’t care, we want people to do great work.

But I will also tell you that - and I could be wrong, if I am, I apologize - I didn’t hear one Republican across this state condemn these threats, condemn the attacks. That’s offensive, that’s scary and shows you how politics has invaded which should be something that is completely nonpartisan, which is educating our kids, providing resources for people to go and learn, and the right to the freedom of education in this country has always stood for.

Please pardon all transcription errors.

       

36 Comments
  1. - Donnie Elgin - Friday, Aug 25, 23 @ 11:15 am:

    “because I know I’m not supposed to talk politics and political parties are irrelevant to me on day like today, we never ask anyone what party they are, we don’t care, we want people to do great work… I didn’t hear one Republican across this state condemn these threats, condemn the attacks”

    Tell us you do not politicize things, and then proceed to politicize something. Looking at his statement, he seems to be implying that somehow silence means consent or acceptance of the threats that were made.


  2. - Our Joe - Friday, Aug 25, 23 @ 11:20 am:

    Proud of Alexi for saying this and emphasizing the role of the SOS office in supporting local libraries, with too many the target of the crazies right now.


  3. - workingfromhome - Friday, Aug 25, 23 @ 11:25 am:

    He’s not wrong.


  4. - We've never had one before - Friday, Aug 25, 23 @ 11:26 am:

    OK, the heck with people that would threaten libraries, and the heck with people that would use libraries as a platform for pushing their agendas.
    That goes to the red and the blue.


  5. - Lucky Pierre - Friday, Aug 25, 23 @ 11:29 am:

    I could be wrong and if I am I apologize but I didn’t hear Alexi or any other elected Illinois Democrats condemn the violent attacks on Catholic Churches and pro life centers after the Dobbs decision


  6. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Aug 25, 23 @ 11:30 am:

    ===use libraries as a platform for pushing their agendas.===

    Yeah. No.

    Banning books is banning books. There is no two sides to that. Can’t do a “lil ban”, nor should banning be something library boards encourage or face scrutiny for not.

    This two sides isn’t a thing, it’s rewarding bad actors by bringing equality to the good AND asking the good to stand down.


  7. - Banish Misfortune - Friday, Aug 25, 23 @ 11:31 am:

    Enlighten me please how people are using libraries to push an agenda. Unless reading and learning are “an agenda”.


  8. - vern - Friday, Aug 25, 23 @ 11:31 am:

    === That’s offensive, that’s scary and shows you how politics has invaded which should be something that is completely nonpartisan ===

    At this point I’ve given up hope on making the moral case that Republicans should loudly oppose political violence and threats. They clearly don’t care.

    But there’s also a political case to be made: political violence and threats are very unpopular. Most voters don’t support any kind of terrorism, especially against public libraries. Loudly opposing terrorism is popular, and more Republicans should try it just for that reason.


  9. - Excitable Boy - Friday, Aug 25, 23 @ 11:35 am:

    - seems to be implying that somehow silence means consent or acceptance of the threats that were made. -

    He is, and it is. This outrage didn’t spring out of nowhere, and every republican official with half a brain knows where it comes from.


  10. - Norseman - Friday, Aug 25, 23 @ 11:37 am:

    There’s no both sidism when it comes to attacks on librarians, teachers, marginal groups and anyone else who doesn’t toe the MAGA line.


  11. - Candy Dogood - Friday, Aug 25, 23 @ 11:41 am:

    These guys think they can’t risk losing the terrorist vote.


  12. - Jocko - Friday, Aug 25, 23 @ 11:42 am:

    And to think, only 22 years ago, Americans were united in their condemnation of terrorism.


  13. - King Louis XVI - Friday, Aug 25, 23 @ 11:43 am:

    –somehow silence means consent or acceptance of the threats–

    Correct. You got it, Donnie.


  14. - Larry Bowa Jr. - Friday, Aug 25, 23 @ 11:45 am:

    “the heck with people that would threaten libraries, and the heck with people that would use libraries as a platform for pushing their agendas.”

    One of these is real and one isn’t.
    This looks like a fairly disgusting attempt to equivocate between literal terrorism and books existing that make you uncomfortable.


  15. - Roadrager - Friday, Aug 25, 23 @ 11:55 am:

    ==I didn’t hear Alexi or any other elected Illinois Democrats condemn the violent attacks on Catholic Churches==

    If your main line of defense to your party is playing the “what about” game, I strongly recommend not letting the name of the Catholic Church escape your lips, lest you find out how quickly more than one person can play that game.

    ==pro life centers==

    I prefer “Nonmedical coercion depots,” but po-tay-to, po-tah-to.


  16. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Aug 25, 23 @ 11:57 am:

    ===Catholic Churches and pro life centers after the Dobbs decision===

    Can you cite an Illinois one?

    So we can check and all.


  17. - Thomas Paine - Friday, Aug 25, 23 @ 11:58 am:

    Some people: Illinois is a Nanny State.

    Same people: I want libraries to control which books kids can read.

    Look, if you don’t want your kid to read books that contain gay characters, tell your kid not to read books that contain gay characters. You can also them they cannot watch Sesame Street or any of the Marvel films containing Loki.

    But if your kids don’t listen to you, that’s on you as a parent. Not your librarian or JB Pritzker or PBS or Disney and Stan Lee.

    Be a better parent and stop blaming everyone else for the fact your kids don’t listen to you.

    Librarians cannot possibly micromanage every persons reading preferences. I think there is a lot of awful teen literature out there, but it’s not reasonable for me to expect the library to ban it just because I don’t approve of my kids reading it.


  18. - Jerry - Friday, Aug 25, 23 @ 12:00 pm:

    What is a “pro life center?”


  19. - Big Dipper - Friday, Aug 25, 23 @ 12:04 pm:

    == Looking at his statement, he seems to be implying that somehow silence means consent or acceptance of the threats that were made.==

    Which it does.


  20. - Jocko - Friday, Aug 25, 23 @ 12:06 pm:

    ==Can you cite an Illinois one?==

    What about the 73yo who drove into an abortion clinic with a car full of flammable materials in Danville?

    On second thought.


  21. - Michael Westen - Friday, Aug 25, 23 @ 12:09 pm:

    “Can you cite an Illinois one?”

    Fairly easy to find on Google.

    https://abc7chicago.com/shrine-of-our-lady-guadalupe-des-plaines-fire-arson-investigation/13290330/


  22. - Lincoln Lad - Friday, Aug 25, 23 @ 12:09 pm:

    I appreciate the Secretary speaking up. And he’s 100% right. Silence does confer acceptance. Enough already.


  23. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Aug 25, 23 @ 12:13 pm:

    ===Fairly easy to find on Google.===

    The arson fire, you have a motive?


  24. - Jerry - Friday, Aug 25, 23 @ 12:16 pm:

    There were plenty of pro life centers in my neighborhood handing out masks or offering vaccinations during the pandemic that had plenty of violent attacks.

    No condemnation from Republicans.


  25. - low level - Friday, Aug 25, 23 @ 12:29 pm:

    ==There were plenty of pro life centers in my neighborhood handing out masks or offering vaccinations during the pandemic that had plenty of violent attacks.==

    Yeah, sorry I’m calling B.S. Mind you I used to be active in the pro life movement until I realized they werent interested in saving babies at all and that a more effective way to do so was to improve the lives of impoverished mothers. That is a true pro life strategy.


  26. - lake county democrat - Friday, Aug 25, 23 @ 12:35 pm:

    You mean this story? I wouldn’t dismiss that the motive had to do with something other than the Dobbs ruling. Googling the suspect’s name doesn’t turn up any prior political activism.

    https://www.catholicworldreport.com/2023/05/24/woman-arrested-in-connection-with-arson-of-our-lady-of-guadalupe-shrine-in-illinois/


  27. - H-W - Friday, Aug 25, 23 @ 12:41 pm:

    @ Donnie Elgin wrote, “he seems to be implying that somehow silence means consent or acceptance.”

    At the aggregate level and at the organizational level (as opposed to the individual level of analysis), silence does. It empowers evil by not addressing it, not making evil acts unacceptable at the social or aggregate level.

    As longs as Republican leaders do not denounce Trump, his supporters only hear their own voices and the voices of others who support Trump. Such members of the party come to believe their voice is the majority sentiment, because they hear no resistance from those within their organization or social grouping.

    If Republican leaders stand and raise their voices to oppose something, republican voters will hear, and at least some will listen. That reduces the amount of hate.

    In politics, whether we are talking Biden or book bans is less the issue than the influence of leaders upon the membership. In a vacuum of leadership, Biden and bomb threats can both be bad and good. Through leadership however, both are defined specifically as acceptable or not.


  28. - H-W - Friday, Aug 25, 23 @ 12:55 pm:

    @ Michael Westen (and tangentially, Lake County Democrat)

    I do not see anything in the links you both provide that suggests the arson is connected in anyway to the Dobbs decision.

    To Westen, your argument is not even weak. It is devoid of reason, just as it is devoid of evidence to prove or even suggest your point.

    LCD, you make the point you would not dismiss that the arson was not about Dobbs. I would go further. In the absence of evidence, assuming so is at best, conspiracy theory derived from the absence of evidence. Any one can hypothesize. Reasonable people prove. Amen?


  29. - Chisox fan - Friday, Aug 25, 23 @ 1:04 pm:

    These attacks are symptoms of a larger problem. It all starts with one person who has given a green light to domestic terrorism. Unfortunately, the vast majority of elected GOP officials are too scared they’ll get primaried if they take a stand.


  30. - Give Us Barabbas - Friday, Aug 25, 23 @ 1:08 pm:

    Alexi you’re the state librarian. You can and should be budgeting funds to protect and support libraries and librarians. It’s literally your job. Back up the talk with action.


  31. - Socially DIstant Watcher - Friday, Aug 25, 23 @ 1:23 pm:

    @ Give Us Barabbas: Because the state librarian controls the state budget? He’s advocating for local libraries. If you want to do it differently, there’ll be a time when you can put that question before the voters.


  32. - Thomas Paine - Friday, Aug 25, 23 @ 1:27 pm:

    “We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant.” Elie Wiesel, Nobel Prize acceptance speech


  33. - TheInvisibleMan - Friday, Aug 25, 23 @ 2:00 pm:

    “he seems to be implying that somehow silence means consent or acceptance”

    It’s so disappointing how even the concept of integrity, much less the implementation of it, is such an unheard of and foreign idea to so many people.


  34. - Betty Draper’s cigarette - Friday, Aug 25, 23 @ 2:12 pm:

    === Yeah, sorry I’m calling B.S.===
    Low level, the pro-life clinics Jerry is talking about are medical clinics.


  35. - Michael Westen - Friday, Aug 25, 23 @ 4:12 pm:

    “To Westen, your argument is not even weak. It is devoid of reason, just as it is devoid of evidence to prove or even suggest your point.”

    Um, I didn’t make an argument. I posted a link to a Catholic shrine being desecrated. Sorry you think there has to be a “motive” to make it bad to burn religious monuments.


  36. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Aug 25, 23 @ 4:15 pm:

    ===Sorry you think there has to be a “motive” to make…===

    … the equivalency matter to, say, abortion, and no one says anything to condemn it.

    That’s my point.

    Why? Because there’s a whole party that’s cheering the leveraging of fear to bullying places like libraries.

    Hope that clears my part.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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