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Colfax Friends of the Library first official meeting July 21

By LeAnn R. Ralph

COLFAX  —  Following an informational meeting June 16, the first Colfax Friends of the Library meeting will be held July 21.

The Colfax Library Board is considering a future building project for a new library, said Lisa Ludwig, Colfax Public Library director, to the group of people who had gathered at the library to express interest in the Friends group.

After an advisory referendum in April in Colfax, “we did not think (the referendum) failed. The village board looked at it differently,” she said.

“We are not giving up. We are starting over,” Ludwig said.

If the responses to the four advisory referendum questions are added up, the majority of the people who voted in the village referendum indicated they wanted to see “something” be done — build a stand alone library or build a multi-purpose building or renovate the existing building.

The service population of the Colfax Public Library covers the village and surrounding townships.

The advisory referendum only surveyed people living in the village.

About 60 percent of the funding for the Colfax Public Library comes from Dunn County for those people who live outside of the village.

The Colfax Public Library Board is asking that the Colfax Friends of the Library group share the library board’s vision for a new library, Ludwig said.

The Friends group will have to file for incorporation with the state of Wisconsin and will have to file for 501c(3) status with the federal Internal Revenue Service, she said.

The Friends group will have to recruit members and will have to decide what kind of fund raising the group would like to do, Ludwig said.

After the Friends of the Library group has been officially formed, the group will be written into the library’s long-range three-year plan. The plan is reviewed annually and then is rewritten once every three years, she said.

Social media — Facebook, Twitter, websites — will help the Friends group connect with other people and to spread the word about their fund raisers and other activities, Ludwig said.

In 2008, during the Great Recession, the library saw a “big jump in usage,” she said, noting that people were seeking assistance in conducting online job searches and filling out applications and writing resumes.

The Friends group, in addition to a statement of purpose and a mission statement, will need bylaws and will need to set goals and priorities, Ludwig said.

Nancy Odom, one of the people who attended the meeting and who also agreed to be the temporary president of the group until a formal election could be held for president, vice-president, secretary and treasurer, said she agreed that the library needs more space in which to provide services and programs.

Odom said she believed that one of the biggest obstacles in the community for building a new library is the concern about what would happen to the Colfax Municipal Building if the library were no longer located there.

If the question of what would happen to the Colfax Municipal Building could be answered, then people in the Colfax might be more willing to support building a new library, Odom said.

The first official meeting of the Colfax Friends of the Library will be July 21 at 5:30 p.m. at the Colfax Public Library.

The Colfax Public Library Board meets next on July 15 at 5:30 p.m. at the library.

Members of the public are welcomed and encouraged to attend both the public library board meetings and the Friends of the Library meetings.

For more information, contact Ludwig at the Colfax Public Library at 715-962-4334.