Monett library to see community room converted to tech center

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Extra state funding becomes available for purchase of books, DVDs

Changes at individual branches in the Barry-Lawrence Regional Library system will improve some services and prompt shifts elsewhere.

The Monett Branch will permanently lose its community meeting room as plans move forward to hire an information technology manager. The room will be solely used for technology at that point. The board voted to move its future monthly meetings from the Monett Branch to the community room at the Pierce City Branch.

Board members approved spending $7,800 to make repairs on the leaking roof at the Cassville Branch. Director Gina Milburn reported the Eagle Rock Community Association has begun remodeling the bathrooms at the Eagle Rock Branch. Signs announcing construction of the new branch in Shell Knob were going in place as soon as the site had been mowed and brush hogged.

The Purdy Friends of the Library requested permission to place a bicycle rack at the Purdy Branch. The board, noting the city owns the building in question and no background information accompanied the request, voted against granting permission.

All the branches appeared positioned to benefit from two funding initiatives. The mini-technology grant sought through the Library Services Technology Act was approved. The grant for $9,653 will provide 70 percent of the money needed to replace the system web and data servers.

State money for competitive grants and statewide projects had not exhausted state funding as expected. Following an invitation, the Barry-Lawrence district received approval for a Public Library Collection Development Grant totaling $16,467.47. Milburn reported the library would use the money by Aug. 31 to purchase entertainment DVDs, audio books, fiction and non-fiction books for all age groups.

Library activity remained strong during the winter. Most weather issues occurred in February and March. All branches were closed on March 4, and the Monett, Aurora and Mt. Vernon branches closed early on March 5.

In January, Cassville led all branches in activity with 8,004 items checked out. Mt. Vernon followed with 7,496 and Monett had 7,342. In February, Mt. Vernon led all branches with 6,689 items checked out. Cassville was second with 6,493 and Monett was third with 6,323.

Milburn reported E-book and e-audio checkouts continue to rise. Wireless Internet use also remained up, while public access computer use dropped slightly. Customer use of the library and attendance continues on a steady rise. Programs remain well attended.

The board reluctantly accepted the resignation of Lawrence County board member Suzanne Myers of Mt. Vernon. Myers stepped down for personal reasons, sending her resignation to the county commission so that a successor could be named.

The board will next meet on April 16.

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