Complaint results in removal of pencil drawing from Carnegie Library in Little Falls

By Terry Lehrke, News Editor
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A pencil sketch donated to the Carnegie Library in Little Falls several years ago by Corey Schilling, has been taken down. Someone complained about the sign hanging in a public building, since the wording carries religious connotations.

In mid-April someone contacted Little Falls City Hall to complain about the pencil drawing that has hung in the  Carnegie Library in Little Falls for the past three years.

The complainant said the drawing, given to the library by a grateful inmate, had religious connotations and didn’t belong in a public building.

City staff removed the drawing after the complaint was made. Lori Kasella, co-city administrator, said the matter will be brought to the city attorney for review.

Echo Kowalzek, a board member of the Friends of the Little Falls library, said she learned the city had taken the drawing down from Carnegie Library branch manager, Stephen Miller. She just didn’t know what the city intended to do with the drawing. Since the Friends group had paid to have the drawing matted and framed, members wanted to know what was going to happen with the drawing.

Kowalzek, not knowing what would happen with the drawing, wrote a letter to the editor, published in the May 6 issue of the Record, saying the Little Falls City Council removed the artwork.

But the Council had yet to learn of the issue at the time the letter was published.

As such, “No firm decision has been made yet,” said Kasella. Staff has been working with the Council on many other issues, including the city’s sign ordinance, and hasn’t had the time to bring the issue before the Council.

Kasella said the drawing was donated to the library, which is city property, therefore the drawing is also city property.

“We didn’t hear anything from the city,” said Kowalzek. “As it turns out, it didn’t go to the City Council. The Friends just thought they’d like to know what going to happen to it.”

Because the drawing was from someone “so grateful for library services that they want to pay us back,” said Kowalzek, “We’d like to have it and maybe keep it in our archives.”

Kowalzek said she trusts the issue will eventually come before the Council.

“I think that city government should be transparent; there shouldn’t be things happening that we don’t know about,” she said. “I doubt that was the case in this instance. I trust eventually it will get to their attention.”

Corey Schilling drew the picture out of gratitude for being able to enjoy books from the library while he was incarcerated. Along with the depiction of two hands reaching out to each other, it carries a verse that reads, “With a simple touch, the Lord created Adam, beginning the chain of creation of us all. With a simple touch of your generous hearts, you have begun a chain of positive changes in the hearts, minds and lives of many and those whose lives they touch. With our hearts, we thank you.”