Positive financial news greeted members of the Barry-Lawrence Regional Library Board of Directors during their April meeting.
Director Jean Berg reported state funding appears to be holding steady for the coming year. The Missouri state budget had $3.6 million listed for State Aid and Equalization, the same as in 2010 though 10 percent less than 2009. Funds for internet service through MOREnet also stayed at the 2010 level.
The non-profit library cooperative OCLC is maintaining the district's subscription price at $5,204, the same price as 2011. The cost covers the contract for World Cat resource sharing and inter-library loan borrowing, which is paid in monthly installments.
The regional library received the 2011 payment of $20,800 from the Gates Foundation grant, matched by donations raised over the past year.
Summer reading program
Preparations are underway for the summer reading program. Berg reported the Missouri State Library collaborated with the Highsmith/ Upstart company, resulting in an $816 voucher for the Barry-Lawrence system. Materials for all 10 branches cost $1,035, a considerable savings for the district. Berg said T-shirts will be obtained for all the staff, plus bookmarks, posters, book bags and other promotional items.
Friends of the Library have donated $4,120 to date to help cover costs of the summer reading program. Donations are used to fund special program performers plus book prizes, craft materials, decorations and various promotions in all of the branches.
A $2,500 donation has been made by the Walmart Foundation to help fund the summer reading program in all the branches, Berg reported.
To help kick off this year's program, storyteller and puppeteer Joy Nack has signed a $1,350 contract to make appearances May 31, June 1 and June 2 at the various branches. Berg commended Jeanea Coker for contacting performers who will perform at the different branches.
Branch activity and staffing
The Cassville Library had the highest circulation of materials in March with 9,844 items checked out. Computer use has continued to increase throughout the system. Board members also looked at attendance in the youth program.
An annual report showing branch activity was distributed. The analysis tracks number of visits, items used in the branches, reference questions and counts of specific materials distributed. The information is gathered for the state aid statistical report.
Mikayla Maples was hired as a library clerk and shelver for the Aurora Branch. Janet Grogh was hired as a part-time custodian for the Miller Branch.
A second T1 line for computers in the Aurora and Cassville branches had been installed by MOREnet. Berg said both branches reported increased speed on the computers.
Mowing arrangements for the summer have been made for all of the branches. Part-time custodians will mow at the Monett and Mt. Vernon branches. Private contractors had signed deals at separate rates to handle the other branches.
Directors looked at efforts to find a successor for Berg, who is retiring on Sept. 1. They agreed to post an ad in Illinois in addition to others running in Kansas City, Oklahoma, Kansas, Tennessee and with the Missouri Library Association and the American Library Association.
Berg presented the board with an option to purchase earthquake insurance. Cost would be an additional premium of $729 annually with a 10 percent deductible on the value of the property. The board voted to buy earthquake coverage on a 5-1 vote. Directors Donna Cheek, Felicity Nesbitt, Jeannie Jones, Charles Peiter and Julie Vaughn voted in favor, and Lester Richesin voted against the action.
The next board meeting will be held on May 12.