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Financial Struggle for Holly Library

 

 

The Holly Public Library needs to be open 20 hours a week in order to be considered a municipal library, but according to librarian Elaine Anderson and Cheryl Roup, the don’t have the funds to pay the employees for their time at the current hourly wage. They addressed their concerns to the Prowers County Commissioners this past Tuesday, August 28th and have also discussed the issue with the Holly Trustees at their monthly meeting.  The library does receive some financial support from the county, allocated in the annual budget.

Anderson said, “The last few years we’ve had a large donation which has been keeping us going, but now, we’re at the end of that money. When I started working there, we were open for 12 hours a week, two to 5pm, four days a week and that doesn’t allow much time for people who worked to get there in those hours.  To be a public library, we need to be open 20 hours per week.”

The current library schedule has it open one day at noon, one night until 7pm and it is open Friday morning and afternoon and Saturday morning. She explained, “Friday morning activities are dedicated to children with a reading group and summer reading and that helps the little ones get acquainted with the library so they know what it is.  We enjoy having them there.  We have two book clubs, one in the afternoon and the other in the evening for adults.”

She said the problem is simply lack of funding. The town supports the library with $2,000 a year and $4,000 from the county for operations.  The 2019 budget is currently $4,500 short of meeting wages.  In order to be open the library needs to meet the 20 hours a week requirement and pay employees at the going minimum wage rate which is due to increase next year.

A ‘Friends’ group was started to help with fundraising and heighten awareness of library activities. A recent Friend’s dinner helped raise funds, but still not enough to cover costs.  Anderson said the amount of a decision is up to the Friends group.  A state grant last year was for $3,500, but was earmarked only for items to be checked out, not wages or supplies.

The women would like a future work session with the Holly Trustees to review financial options as well as guidelines and specific policies. There are some areas of liability they’d like specified as well as guidelines on policies for the library and the accessibility into the library from the deck which they said, if it were fixed, more activities could be held outside.  Anderson said they’d like to do an in-depth survey with the town, one to one which would help determine what people want and an opportunity to get some backing.

Commissioner Cook said he wasn’t making any promises right now, but the county is beginning its annual budget process for 2019 and the commissioners would take a look at these problems.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: City of HollyCountyEconomyEducationFeaturedSchool

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