Library Board prepares for possible fund squeeze
By MARIBETH WARD, Staff Writer
During their Wednesday evening meeting, Putnam County Library Board members approved borrowing $50,000 from the Library Improvement Reserve Fund (LIRF) in case they do not receive a disbursement from the county's property taxes by August. LIRF works like a capital savings fund and serves as a sort of bank for libraries.
Library Director Alice Greenburg told the board, "It will be pretty tight to get through all of August right now. It usually takes six weeks from the time taxes are due to get our disbursement." There is currently money in the operating account but possibly not enough to cover the expenses of the facility through the end of August.
A short review took place during the meeting regarding a recent downward trend in the number of books being checked out of the library. Greenburg presented a chart covering the years from 2004 to 2007 which shows the number of books borrowed increasing until this year. At the same time, the number of people using the facility has increased.
"We get a lot of traffic for the computers. Internet usage is up over 100 persons a day," she told group. While book borrowing was up in June, overall it was down from last year by several percent. "It's hard to pinpoint exactly what the reasons are," remarked Greenburg. "Maybe people aren't finding what they want or aren't asking for help. We did install new computer programs last year and that may be a cause." The board plans to continue monitoring the numbers.
*The nomination committee recommended board officers remain the same. A motion was made and approved to retain the current officers.
*Noted ancestry.com has added two new military databases with missing in action and prisoner of war names which can be accessed by library patrons
*Reviewed the facility's Internet Safety Policy and determined no changes were necessary
* Announced Hoosier photographer John Bower will be guest speaker at the annual Friends of the Library meeting on Monday, August 13 at 5:30 in the Kiwanis Room. Bower will present a slide show of Indiana's forgotten places and objects called, "Capturing the Soul of Indiana--a celebration of our overlooked cultural heritage." Brown's photos feature decaying houses, exquisite cemetery statues, amazing architectural details, towering grain elevators, and hidden attic spaces. The public is invited to attend.
*Discussed the library's Festival of the Book. This is a celebration of books, reading and creativity for the entire community from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on September 15. It is part of the library's 2007 Focus on Literacy initiative and was inspired by the National Book Festival. PCPL's event will highlight local and regional authors, encourage creative expression through writing and craft activities for children, teens and adults, and serve as the kick-off for the new Putnam County Reads program.
Authors include keynote speaker Philip Gulley, as well as Michael Koryta, Kit Ehrman, J.A. Konrath, Scarlett Dean, Lisa Lutz, Jeff McCall, Jay Hosler and Lane Robins. The festival will also host a reception for local authors.
The Putnam County Library board meets at 6 p.m. in the Kiwanis room at the library on the third Wednesday of the month.