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Saturday, October 19, 2019

Atlanta, Illinois, Library accused of illegally running museum, eatery

Local Government

By Abena Agyeman-Fisher | Oct 2, 2017

Atlanta Museum | Pinterest

The Atlanta, Illinois, Public Library District is running a museum and restaurant on tax dollars, according to the Edgar County Watchdogs (ECW).

At first, the Atlanta Museum was physically in-house alongside the library, but now the library can be found on 112 SW Arch St., the first cross street from the library on Race Street.

The ECW points out that by statute, a library board may help maintain a library or history museum in its district, not necessarily run one -- or an attached restaurant.

Atlanta Public Library | APL

"So exactly what historical museum was located in the district?" the ECW asks on its Illinois Leaks website. "Who is this library participating with in maintaining the museum? Note it does not say you can take library tax money and operate a museum."

The ECW argued that a park district does have the right to operate such a museum, but the library is not part of the park district.

"Park districts have broad powers, and they could, in fact, operate a museum and supporting operations for the museum," the ECW posted. "They were given the power; Libraries were not!"

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