Library district selected for arts program

Thursday, July 10, 2008

On June 26, the Barry-Lawrence Regional Library Board of Trustees heard that the library district has been selected to participate in the Picturing America program, which is sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Library Association.

Jean Berg, library district director, announced that the district has received a grant that will bring a collection of reproductions of American masterpieces to the library branches this fall. Library staff members will be responsible for providing educational programs to complement the artworks.

Picturing America is designed to promote the study of American history through art. According to the Picturing America website, the program "conveys common heritage and ideals by bringing individuals face to face with the people, places and events that shaped the country," and "provides an innovative way to experience America's history through art."

The collection includes: John Singleton Copley's portrait of Paul Revere; Alexander Gardner's portrait of Abraham Lincoln; Dorothea Lange's photo of a migrant mother; and "Freedom of Speech" by Norman Rockwell.

Each library branch will host a program to showcase the artwork. Detailed plans for the programs will be released at a later date, said Berg.

"I think the benefit will come from giving students and adults a deeper appreciation of our country's history and also exposure to our artistic heritage through paintings, sculpture, architecture and photography," said Berg. "Cassville is one of the branches that ran a very successful photography contest this past spring. We were very pleased with the contributions that library users brought in. Maybe we can encourage some budding artists."

The Barry-Lawrence Regional Library is one of only 1,500 schools and libraries that were selected to participate in the program this year.

In old business, the library district board reviewed the proposed 2008-09 budget. Revenues, including tax income, was estimated to be around $1,678,615.

The proposed budget includes capital improvement projects and maintenance and repair expenditures for all 10 library branches. The budget also includes employee salary increases, which are based on individual evaluations, and a 30-cent increase for the library shelver position, which will now be $6.80 per hour.

Prior to approving the proposed budget, the library board held an executive session to review Berg's performance. After returning to open session, the board voted to give Berg a 3.5 percent salary increase.

The 2008-09 fiscal year budget, which was unanimously approved, includes $1,535,582 in proposed expenditures.

In other business, the Barry-Lawrence Regional Library Board of Trustees:

* Approved a revised fee schedule, which sets the fee for repairing bound books at $12 and increases the color copy charge from 50 cents per page to $1.25 per page.

* Heard that Julie Vaughn, of Lawrence County, and Regina McIlrath, of Barry County, have been re-appointed to the library board.

* Elected new board officers, which include: Ann Hall, president; Charles Peiter, vice president; and Felicity Nesbitt, secretary and treasurer.

* Approved the design for the new Monett Library.

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