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LTE – Paula Brandt – 11-6-2013

I am urging all residents to consider attending 2014 city budget hearing Thursday, Nov 7 at 7:00 p.m. at city hall.  The proposed 2014 budget is available to all and can be obtained at City Hall upon request.  It is not online or on file at the library.

I am addressing only two aspects of library funding, which are now at a crossroads and we may have some measure of control.  The council proposes to slash the 2014 city library appropriation by $17,000 from last year’s level, a 40% decrease. Cumulative appropriation losses from 2011 including proposed 2014 are almost $39,000.

Appropriation decreases result in decreases in ACT 150 County reimbursement funds of almost  $16,000 or 31% for 2014.  For the cumulative period 2011 through 2014 this adds up to over $25,000 lost.

Total decreases in both city appropriation and ACT 150 reimbursements for 2014 are $32,715, a 35% decrease.  Cumulative losses 2011 through 2014 are about $64,000.  This trend and systematic loss of funding is a “death spiral”.

More information is available from our library, its board, and from our city council representatives.  It is of crucial importance that those who wish to keep a library in our city attend and work as a team with our council members.

I know there is some council opinion that libraries are becoming obsolete and city appropriation is not vital. Some think all that is necessary is meeting the legal minimum funding requirement so as not to face penalties or other financial losses.  Some believe the library will continue to function adequately with minimal support.  This could not be further from the truth.  This leads me to believe that there is a lack of understanding of  the scope and value of library services, what is being offered, and the need for our community to continually pursue literacy and keep abreast of the electronic nature of our world.   There could be a lack of understanding regarding the impact of decreased funding and support.  Libraries are more than a book service.

Libraries surrounding us are thriving, growing and getting support needed from their communities.  Their communities will continue to be progressive in our technological age.  We, however, will fall behind.  Their libraries will become our libraries as we will not have one.  Our  tax dollars will divert to support neighboring libraries — we can then choose what library we want to patronize and provide financial support.

To find out what our library is doing, please check out and follow the library website:

Please consider attending November 7 hearing at city hall.  I think we all want a progressive community not a backward one.

Paula Brandt