Library Board approves 5-year plan January 12

Posted 1/19/22

Roadmap to acheiving library addition would first require maintenance to existing 120-year-old building “Tempus fugit,” the Romans used to say.-"Time flies." But with change being more …

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Library Board approves 5-year plan January 12


Roadmap to acheiving library addition would first require

maintenance to existing 120-year-old building

“Tempus fugit,” the Romans used to say.-"Time flies." But with change being more or less inevitable in many areas— including to empires— the D. R. Moon Memorial Library Board moved to both sustain and expand the local patrimony when it approved a five-year plan in the interest of seeing a long-sought after library addition rise next door to the 120-year-old Romanesque building on Eighth Avenue, said to cost $8,000 in 1901 and the oldest remaining library building in the county.

With word still out on the depot (of Craftsman architecture) after it was damaged in the December 15 tornado, the five-year plan approved Wednesday January 12th would start out slowly, with 2022 dedicated to preparation, including a drive to increase the library’s presence in the community, increase rural outreach through partnerships and grants, and even—potential- ly-go fine free. You read that right.

With a newly revamped and functional Friends of the Library group now operational, members of the board and director Elizabeth Miniatt shared that unpaid fines keeping peo ple from checking out books after they had returned the ones with fines attached were poten – tially hampering the library’s main source of revenue, this tied to circulation.

With over 32,000 circula- tions last year, fines had served FIVE YEAR PLAN

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their time, being initiated in the beginning to encourage book return, as board vice-president Cheryl Kern-Simirenko shared.

“Fines started because the idea was to get people to return the items,” Kern-Simirenko said of attaching a monetary penalty to unreturned library books. But with items returned and fines preventing further checkouts, they ended up being counterproductive.

“It hampers the real source of funding, which is circulation,” library director Miniatt said. As to a planned addition, meanwhile, another crucial part was securing a $500,000 CDBG, the letters standing for Community Development Block Grant. Securing the grant first required the library raising $500,000 towards the building project, with the library previously asking for—and get- ting-extra financial support from the Council to help revamp its ordinary budget, after a drop in circulation had imperiled the same. The reset funding is due to kick in soon, as county reimbursement is based on where things stood in the past, funding and circulation wise.

Before any future building addition project can go forward, however, there are upgrades and repairs to make to the current building, including to the floors and windows, it was shared at Wednesday's meeting. The floors wouldn't be an issue, as they had been changed many times (along with the roof materials), but the windows would be, as the building’s place on the National Historic Register affected what could be done to it. Any addition plans would have to go through the Parks Service, but in the meantime, the library had been busy, reaching out to the community.

With the future still holding challenges to a library addition moving forward, one thing, is sure: the building once voted for abandonment in 1997 for a new one connected to a city hall that never took shape, is still here, but keeping it that way will take continued and increased community involvement, with more information on the library’s Facebook page, as well as on site, at 154 East Fourth Avenue. And as to going fine free on returned checkout items in 2022?

“Put it on the agenda,” board treasurer Jim Ericksen said Wednesday of potentially approving the novel idea at a future library board meeting. Some things, are worth keeping. Others, may just have served their time—provided the checkout items have been returned.