By Missy Klatt
GLENWOOD CITY — Have you ever thought what a typical day is like for the local librarian?
For Katie Schneider, Glenwood City’s Public Librarian, no two days are alike. Of course, I think I can safely say that all our readers know that the librarian checks out books and shelves them. But did you know that the librarian is part educator, part researcher, part event planner, part accountant, part computer expert, part counselor and all around good person and hard worker?
One day, Schneider may help a patron with research for several hours or she may help somebody else write a resume or fill out an application. For others it may simply being showing how to copy papers or fax them. For others it may be help in setting up an email account or learning the basics of using a computer and doing google searches.
Of course, she is there to help people find books, whether at the library itself or ordering them through the MORE system. If you are in need of information or looking for books pertaining to a certain topic or genre she can recommend and literally pull books off the shelf for you.
Something not as typical for most librarians is the fact that Katie loves to plan events. And she has done some wonderful events besides the typical summer reading programs and book club events that you see at other libraries. Schneider has done several Do-It-Yourself (DIY) craft projects for adults and kids, had movie nights in the park, and partnered with local business to provide community scavenger hunts and painting “parties”, just to name a few. All of these have been very well received which has shown that there is a real need for these type sof activities in our small community.
Of course, during this year of COVID-19 there have been many changes at the library, including a temporary shut down and the reworking of certain events. With the shut-down of course came fewer items being checked out which is key for the library’s funding. This is where the part time account comes in for the librarian as there is a complex and somewhat confusing way that the funds are figured out for each library.
Glenwood City funds the library a specific amount of money each year which doesn’t cover all of the library’s financial needs. The library also receives funding from St. Croix County and the adjacent counties. County funding (ACT 150) is based mainly on how many physical items are checked out or the “circulation” which doesn’t include any e-books or other e-materials. Of course, the numbers are down this year due to COVID so this in turn could affect the budgeting for the future, more specifically the budgeting for 2022. As the funding is calculated by the end numbers for this year (2020) for 2022 funding. This “Act” basically charges St. Croix County and surrounding counties a certain amount based on patron usage (circulation) from outside the city proper. St. Croix County pays 100% of what they are billed however Dunn County for example is only obligated by law to pay 70% of what they are billed so that’s all they pay.
As a result, Schneider has felt it necessary to cut staff and hours so there can be some carryover funds for the next couple of years.
Currently, the hours of operation are Monday: noon-6 p.m.; Tuesday, Thursday, Friday: 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday: Closed and as of this past Monday, November 16th, this is just for curbside pickup due to the increase of COVID-19 cases in the area. However, if you need to copy, fax or use the computer, you can call and set up an appointment, with only one patron allowed in the building at a time.
As for solutions to this new reality, there is no easy answer. One patron suggested bringing back fines. There are currently no fines at the Glenwood City library. Katie explained how that doesn’t work because this causes people to check out fewer items (resulting in lower circulation numbers) and she said that quite often the fines don’t get paid.
Another thought would be to charge for some of these events. However, they are not allowed to charge for any event held at the library because the library is free for everyone and a non-profit. Donations are always accepted but this money can’t be put towards salaries only for programming (events).
Volunteers would seem like another answer, unfortunately, while volunteers are great they can’t always be counted on if something comes up in their personal life. After all they are volunteers.
With Glenwood City planning on constructing a new Library/Community Center/City Hall/Police Department in two years, the library is also trying to figure out fund raising for new shelving and furniture for the new building. This is where the Friends of the Library and Chamber of Commerce come into play. Currently they are sponsoring “Light Up Glenwood City” which is basically a Christmas light display for Glenwood and the surrounding area. To register come to the library and fill out a form and pay your $10 entry fee. The library will design a map of all the locations that participate. You can then vote for your favorite by calling the library or messaging on Facebook or by email email@example.com. First prize will be awarded $200 in Chamber bucks. All the proceeds of this contest will go towards new furniture.
Once some of the COVID-19 issues settle down look for the Friends of the Library to have several more fundraisers in the future.
Bottom line, support your local library, whether it’s by checking out books, movies and other materials or by making a monetary donation, the library is a tremendous asset to our community.