To keep up with information technology in the 21st century, the Mt. Sterling Public Library needs to make “investments.” To do that, it needs its patrons to make an investment in it in the form of a tax levy.
Library director Chris Siscoe told the Madison-Plains Board of Education (BOE) Tuesday, April 15 that due to cuts in library funding over the past seven years, that revenue needs to be replaced. Siscoe said in 2008 the library received from the state $227,993. By 2014, Siscoe said projected income is $164,000.
For that reason and others, Siscoe requested and the BOE approved permission to place a .4 mills levy on the ballot for Nov. 4. It will generate $99,728 per year over a proposed five years. Cost per house of $100,000 valuation will be $14 per year or $1.16 per month.
In addition to the aforementioned funding decreases Siscoe said the library building needs attention. The roof is 20 years old, as is the furnace. Also, the lighting fixtures are obsolete because replacement bulbs for them are no longer manufactured. Replacement is necessary.
Siscoe said the library also wants to better serve its patrons by:
• Continuing existing services
• Expanding digital resources such as download-able magazines, books, movies and music. Siscoe said currently the library can’t afford to get into those markets.
• Add more service hours the main library is open.
Siscoe said the bookmobile is currently operating on private donations, but at some point, those funds will be used up. The library has budgeted the $25,000 donation over three years.
Siscoe said, by law, the Mt. Sterling Public Library is supposed to service 53 percent of the population of Madison County. The law binds the library to the school district. But because many of those 53 percent reside at some distance from the library, he said the library actually only gets to serve 16 percent of the population.
Siscoe said book circulation is up 17 percent over the previous year.
“E-books will be the way to go, but books will be around for quite awhile,” he said.
Dean Shipley can be reached at (740) 852-1616, ext. 17 or via Twitter @DeanAShipley.