Barry-Lawrence Regional Library puts hold on sales tax question

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Trustees await special election for District House seat

It's back to the drawing board for members of the Barry-Lawrence Regional Library board.

Last month, Gina Milburn, director, spoke to State Rep. Scott Fitzpatrick, R-Shell Knob, concerning efforts to have the Barry-Lawrence Regional Library included in a statute that would allow the board seek a sales tax for funding. At that time, Fitzpatrick said his support was contingent on having the support of State Sen. David Sater, R-Cassville, and State Rep. Mike Moon, R-Ash Grove, as well.

Since then, Fitzpatrick has been appointed Missouri State Treasurer and will take office in January. A special election will likely be called to fill Fitzpatrick's seat.

That will put the library board's quest for seeking a sales tax for funding operations on hold until a special election can be held to fill Fitzpatrick's vacant 158th District House seat, and all three local legislators agree to support the measure. Deadline to file an issue for the April 2 ballot is Jan. 22, 1019/ No other general elections are planned in 2019, leaving all the expense on the library if it pursues a vote this year.

In order to prepare for a possible tax levy increase campaign, library staffers plan to conduct a public opinion survey with the intent to gauge whether voters would support the library by saying “yes.”

A local company priced its services between $7,500 and $15,000 to conduct the survey, as well as another survey to gauge support of the library in general. After much discussion, Greg Brown, marketing manager, and Milburn believe staffers can conduct a survey for a much lower cost. Brown drafted an online survey as a starting point, will be used for telephone surveys, as well. Paid temporary staffers will conduct the surveys.

Linda Lines, a part-time assistant for the Monett and Purdy branch libraries, submitted her resignation, effective Dec. 28. Milburn said the position will not be filled at this time.

Milburn reported Golubski Roofing had made repairs to the roof and guttering at the Marionville branch, following the Dec. 1 storm that passed through the area.

Staffers at the Monett branch had to request involvement from the Monett Police Department in order to retrieve a long-overdue book valued at $800. Officers were able to retrieve the book from the offender.

Staffers have opted to migrate from The Library Corporation, which provides automated solutions, cataloging and data services, to Evergreen, which helps manage, catalog and circulate materials.

“We will have to find the room to do it in the limited space that we have, but in the long run it will be worth it,” Milburn said. “It will save us money, increase the amount of material that will be available to our patrons, and give us the opportunity to provide e-cards to students.”

The next opportunity to join the Evergreen consortium will be at the end of 2019.

Staffers are planning a major purge of library cards that have been inactive for three years or more, with balances of less than $100. Purdy will offer the first test of the system before moving to other branches.

Trustees have amended the bylaws to include participation in meetings via communication devices such as a computer or phone.

Milburn reported there were 29,285 checkouts for the month of November. Mt. Vernon came in first with 6,229, followed by Monett with 5,632, and Cassville was third with 5,602. Purdy, with 449, remains at the bottom.

E-material checkout was 2,405 compared to last November 2017 with 2,460. “This was the first time since we started that we had less e-material checkout than the previous year,” Milburn said. “We believe that this was due to the fact there were problems with MoLib2Go for several days in November.”

Ancestry was used 157 times and Hoopla was used 1,282 times. Computer use was 2,769 and Wi-Fi use was 867. In November, the library hosted 181 programs with 3,093 participants.

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