Library funding has been much in the news in Green Lake County lately, and while I’ve put off writing about the issue in this column it’s time to ask for your support.
Every library in Green Lake County receives a portion of their annual budget from the county. The amount varies every year depending upon how many rural county residents check out books and movies and music and whatever else from the library. The funding gets a bit complicated, because each library’s cost per book (or movie or CD or what have you) checked out is different. And is gets even more complicated because the funding request for any given year is based on services rendered two years previously. That is, the funding request for next year will be based on the number of items checked out to rural county residents in 2013. I’m much better at explaining all this in person than in print, so if you have questions, please stop in and I will be happy to talk with you about it.
There is an agreement between the libraries and Green Lake County in effect until 2016 that basically says the County will reimburse the libraries for their costs incurred for serving rural residents at 100%. The County Finance Committee wants to lower this reimbursement amount starting in 2015. The lowest they can go by state law is 70% of costs to rural residents. As you might guess, we’re not happy about this. It will impact each county library differently, but it will definitely impact them all.
Why take up newspaper space to tell you about this? Because if you read these columns to find out about what’s happening at the library and if there’s a program coming up that you’d like to attend, you will be impacted by the funding cuts. If you check out books and movies for yourself or your family, you will be impacted. If you appreciate having a place to meet, you will be impacted. If you enjoy using our high speed Internet access, you will be impacted. And we wanted you to know that.
What can we do? Well, there’s an election coming up next Tuesday. Ask the folks who are running for office if they support public libraries and the free lifelong educational and entertainment opportunities the libraries offer to everyone – resident or visitor, old or young, tech savvy or novice user, of every economic class and every ethnic background and every walk of life. Think about letting them know what having a library in the community means to you. Attend a municipal meeting and let your opinions be heard. We have more ideas, if you decide this is a topic you want to pursue. Give us a call (294-3572), drop me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org), or stop in to chat.
We’ll get back to a “regular” column next week. If you want to know what else is going on at the Caestecker Library this week, call us or visit the events page at www.greenlakelibrary.org