BL Library prepares for federal funding cuts

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Barry-Lawrence Regional Library Board of Directors discussed how the federal sequestration will impact funding of local services during its March meeting.

The American Library Association reported the cut in federal funding will impact all libraries served by the state. Funding to the Institute for Museum and Library Services has dropped by $12 million, with $7.866 million cut from the Library Services and Technology Act.

Each state program will see cuts. The Missouri State Library had not yet announced how it will implement the cuts, beginning with the 2013-14 fiscal year on July 1.

Director Gina Milburn said the State Aid Equalization Program had disbursed $16,936.48 for library services in Barry County, a reduction of $1,959.69 from the previous year. For the second year, Lawrence County did not qualify for equalization funds. The money will be used in the Monett, Purdy, Cassville, Shell Knob and Eagle Rock branches.

Milburn received permission from the board to consolidate the Summer Reading Club fundraising into one fund. In the past, funds raised in each community have served the local branch only. Milburn said the practice created tracking problems and inconsistency in the services offered.

In light of the ongoing push to offer consistent services in all the branches, the board agreed to overhaul the Summer Reading Club program. Janea Coker, children's coordinator, will fairly distribute the funds to all the branches for programs, prizes, incentives and crafts.

Branch issues

Circulation dropped slightly in February, compared to the previous year, due in part to poor weather. Monett led the system with the most circulation, followed by Cassville.

The Eagle Rock Branch had its second break-in of the year between March 5 and March 6. The Eagle Rock Community Association building was forcibly entered and the door broken into the library. Candy and approximately $25 in cash were taken.

Board members decided to leave some lights on at the library after hours to enhance security. John Stilwell, vice president of the Eagle Rock Community Association, said his group planned to install video surveillance equipment with four cameras. Board members agreed to back half of the $300 expense.

Maintenance needs prompted a discussion about making minor interior renovations, such as new carpeting, at the Monett Branch. Plans still call for moving forward with a new branch facility for Monett once fundraising allows a plan to move forward.

Carpets and hard surfaces in all the branches will be cleaned on a rotating quarterly basis. Work on the Mt. Vernon Branch had gone well.

The first wave of letters went out from Unique Management Services, the firm hired to address overdue and lost books. Branches reported many long overdue books had been returned. Customers were also coming in to pay off their accounts.

Inclement weather prompted the closing of the entire library system on Feb. 21 and a delayed opening on the following day. Winter weather also delayed openings in Purdy, Mt. Vernon and Miller on Feb. 26.

Personnel action

The search for a new part-time youth services library assistant for the Purdy Branch has begun, following the resignation of Donna Carlo.

The youth service staff attended a training workshop on March 6 in Springfield. Staff prepared for the "Dig Into Reading" and the "Beneath the Surface" summer reading programs for children and teens.
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