Appropriations dip for county library
Written by KAREN NADLER COTA Sentinel Lifestyles Editor
Monday, 24 March 2014 10:32
In spite of inflation and higher fuel and grounds expenses already incurred in the first three months of the year, the Wood County District Public Library's appropriated budget for 2014 will be $280,000 lower than the budget for 2013.
The library Board of Trustees approved an anticipated budget for the year totaling $2.5 million at its March board meeting on Wednesday.
The comparable figure for last year was $2.8 million.
"We spent triple what we had for the last four years on snow removal" and "we've added an extra $20,000 for utilities. It's just been so cold, we've had abnormally high gas bills," said library director Michael Penrod.
So what makes the end figure lower?
"We don't have the expense of the Carter House renovations running through the books" in 2014, board President Brian Paskvan pointed out. The children's department renovations, too, are all but complete.
The one area of exterior work still planned for the Carter House is repainting the historic dwelling, with advice being sought from Wood County Historical Museum personnel on the best method to treat the bricks and the ornate metal railing.
Penrod, Paskvan and board member Becky Bhaer reported to the board at large on last week's meeting with the Wood County Commissioners to start the process of seeking formal approval to place a renewal of 2010's 0.8 mill library levy on the November ballot.
"I thought it went very well. The commissioners' response was very positive," Paskvan said.
Penrod agreed, describing the meeting as "the first informal step in a formal process."
"I basically shared with them everything we've done since the last levy passed - dollars spent, usage up, and levy promises delivered," namely restored hours of operation including Sundays, and increased book purchases. In addition, the library has paid off its mortgage early, saving a substantial amount in interest expenses.
Regarding usage, the library has tallied record-setting numbers for items borrowed, foot traffic, programs attended, and visits to the webpage.
All that has been done in the face of a 31-percent reduction in the level of state funding for libraries.
Bhaer noted that the library has made a real effort to provide transparency about its operations and decisions. "The taxpayers get probably more back than they spend" via the current five-year levy.
"With a simple levy renewal, for an owner of a $100,000 house it would cost $25" annually, said trustee Ellen Dalton. "You couldn't buy a single hardcover book for $25."
Board members spent several minutes discussing names of community members they would like to ask to serve on the levy committee.
The State Library of Ohio is offering a grant program that provides libraries with an Americorps worker for one year, at a cost to the library of just $2,500, as part of the Guiding Ohio Online program. The worker's primary job would be conducting technical training for library staff.
Penrod said WCDPL will be applying for one of those grants.
The main library in Bowling Green continues to host free tax preparation on Saturdays, from noon to 4 p.m., Michele Raine, assistant library director, told the board. The service, provided by United Way in Wood County, will run through April 26 in the library Meeting Room. One must have an annual income under $50,000 to use the service and appointments are required. To make an appointment, dial 2-1-1 or 1-800-650-HELP (4357).
During the month of February, a total of 80 people were helped to file their federal returns for a combined total refund of $140,795, Raine said. In addition, 77 state returns were filed for a refund total of $13,588.
Raine also reported that 72 book reviews were turned in last month during the library's "Blind Date With a Book" promotion, and a total of 176 people attended the three musical programs hosted by the library earlier this year.
Last Updated on Monday, 24 March 2014 11:34