HAMMOND | A request for an emergency injunction was filed in federal court Thursday seeking to reverse the Gary Library Board's decision to close and dismantle the main branch at 220 W. Fifth Ave.
"The main library is like a mighty oak tree, the main library is the tree trunk with deep roots and the branch libraries are its branches," according to the request. "The branches feed off and reflect the wealth and health of the tree trunk. They draw their strength and information from the trunk and its roots."
The legal action, which accuses the library board of violating constitutional rights, was filed without the benefit of an attorney and on behalf of the residents of Gary by Lovetta Tindal and Gloria Moreno.
The library system did not respond Thursday to a request for comment.
Tindal and Moreno claim the seven-member Library Board decided to close the main branch Dec. 30 and turn it into a museum and cyber cafe without first hearing public opposition. The board is not selected by the public and there is no way to address grievances, they claim.
"By closing the doors they prohibited our 'equal access to our 'storehouse of knowledge,'" the claim reads.
The pair voiced concern about the fate of the books and art that make up what they say is the region's oldest collection of local history dating from the early 1900s.
"There is a Dumpster located in the rear of the main library with books and other materials dumped in it," they said.
The claim also cites concern about the Library Board withholding $3 million to $5.6 million in reserve funds and asks the court to order the money to be used for the main library and its branches.
The court is asked to stop the closure and dismantling of the main library, and order the return of all properties and full library services. The claim also seeks greater public access to the dealings of the library system.