LTE – Janet Scepurek – 2-26-2014

To The Editor:

With the recent decreases in city and county funding, the 2014 library budget was short $32,717 compared to 2013, and $46,747 less compared to 2012.  This is 43% less over the past two years.

The library Board of Trustees did not feel justified in making any large cuts, such as cutting out a day of delivery or one day per week of being open, but we will need to use about $28,000 of carryover funds just to maintain services.  When the carryover is gone, then what?

Because of the way libraries are funded in Wisconsin, we need two things to happen:  (1)  Glenwood City residents who support the library need to make their support known to the city council before the next budget is approved, and (2) We need to promote the library to nearby rural (county) residents in order to create awareness and boost circulation of library materials because county funding is based on circulation totals.

Libraries provide a host of other services which we have come to expect or take for granted, such as computers, internet, printers, copying, faxing, homework materials, and even provides books to the public schools.  There is also help with technology, learning to use a jump drive, check email, search for jobs, fill out on-line forms, provide print and electronic tax forms, etc. The library provides access to e-content: books, video and music. Of course costs for the services the library provides will continue to rise each year and the library will be unable to function at its current level once the surplus is gone.

With this in mind, we will be starting a Friends of the Library group.  An organizational meeting will be held on Monday, March 3, at 6:30 p.m. at the library.  The group and meetings will be very informal; each person may participate in whatever capacity they choose, such as fundraising, used book sales, bake sales, awareness, advocacy, etc.  Bring your ideas to the first meeting!  It’s free, and should be fun!  We want everyone to feel comfortable with whatever level of help they can lend.  We know people are busy, and this will not be a large time commitment; even showing support once or twice a year will be very helpful.

If you cannot attend the first meeting, there will be others in the future.  You may also call (715-265-7443)  or visit the library (127 Pine Street) or its website (www.glenwoodcitylibrary.org) to express your support and appreciation. You may fill out a sign-up sheet/interest survey form.

I think people’s lives would be quite different without the public library. Every day I read a book or watch a DVD from the library, and quite often check email and use the internet.  Another way to say that is “what would I miss out on if we didn’t have a library?”

It is the responsibility of the library Board of Trustees to ensure that adequate funds are provided, but the seven of us cannot do it alone.  We very much need the support of the public.  Thank you.

Janet Scepurek, President
Glenwood City Library Board of Trustees