Council urged to honor voters’ support for Baldwin City Library expansion
On Nov. 3, 2009, Baldwin City voters approved a general quality of life sales tax for capital improvements, which included the Baldwin City Library. Library patrons and Friends of the Library promoted and supported the measure. As of today, no monies from that sales tax that voters authorized have actually been approved for library expansion.
The library has been very well managed since it was built at its present site. At the time, the city predicted the library would never be able to meet the payroll and utility expenses of the new facility. Our excellent treasurers Dorthea Jackson, Joe Simunac and Ivan Huntoon have managed library finances better than many small businesses. While many libraries in our district have had to cut hours, book ordering and personnel, the Baldwin City Library is financially solvent and thriving. Even the most frugal money management will not provide funds for expansion out of the operating budget.
The library has provided the Baldwin City Council with reports, data and circulation information. Many city meeting were held in the library activity room, which is one of the areas proposed for expansion. It is tiring to constantly try to prove the library is worthy of receiving a portion of the sales tax that the voters have already approved.
Friends of the Library have flower sales and the very popular citywide garage sale in June. The library is supported by huge number of volunteer staffers, who make it possible to have such successful programming. Our genealogy and history department is a treasury of Baldwin City’s past and present. However, the library has little office space and virtually no storage space, forcing staff to store supplies for activities in their homes.
The last two months, 350 readers have been participating in summer reading, recording books read and attending special programming, all free. The public-use computers and activity rooms are busy all day. Patrons breathe a sigh of relief as they come in to relax and cool off. New families moving to town often make the library a first stop for information and welcome. And yet, there seems to be a constant quest for a more vital option downtown to support.
Please support the library’s future by urging the city council to honor the sales tax commitment to the library expansion.