Wireless Internet (Wi-Fi) service is now available at the Monett Branch of the Barry-Lawrence Regional Library. Board members discussed several facility upgrades during their October meeting.
WiFi service began at the Monett Branch on Oct. 9. According to branch supervisor Cindy Frazier, around 25 people took advantage of the service in the first month.
Library staff informed Monett High School of the addition of WiFi, giving students with laptops made available through the school's One-to-the-World Initiative another place to conduct Internet-based studies after school hours. Users have to ask for the password and do not have access to the district's printer. Frazier told The Times the patron response has been positive and gone without problems.
Director Gina Milburn said a portion of State Equalization funds will be used for Barry County to pay for the wireless service. Service is now available at the Monett, Mt. Vernon and Cassville branches. Service will be added at the Aurora Branch in January, 2013.
New problems were found at the Marionville Branch by contractor Keith McCracken, with Classic Homes. McCracken repaired the retaining wall and installed downspouts and gutters. While burying the downspouts in the rear, he discovered deterioration of the retaining wall was worse than expected. He recommended removing the wall, pouring a concrete footing where no footing now exists and either rebuilding the wall or replacing it with landscaping blocks.
The wall was not in imminent danger of collapse. Board members decided to wait until spring to address the problem.
A new overdue book rate was established. Board members voted to change the daily fine per item from five to 10 cents per day. A maximum of $4 per item was established.
Board members agreed the idea of fines was not to generate revenue, but the encourage customers to return material on time.
A 90-day trial arrangement with the Unique Management Service (UMS) was approved. UMS's library division has more than 1,500 clients. The company characterized its approach as "a gentle nudge" to maintain customer good will.
According to UMS's history, 50 to 65 percent of customers respond. Accounts would only be turned over the UMS after the regional library used its own resources for 60 days, then processed over the next 120 days. A $10 service charge would be attached for each customer.
UMS indicated the library should see a $4 return for every $1 spent. Use of the service would require purchase of a $2,999 module and a $799 second year maintenance fee. Milburn said the library should recoup initial costs within the first year. Board members agreed to the risk free 90-day trial. If satisfied, UMS would bill for services rendered during the trial period.
Final payment of $80,688.88 on the district's lease purchase for construction of the Cassville and Marionville branches had been received. The debt is clear, freeing up future funds for capital projects, such as expanding the Monett Branch. Milburn said expenses would be at a minimum until year-end tax revenue from the countries had been received.
The annual audit was scheduled to be completed during October. The report would be submitted to the State Library by the Oct. 31 deadline.
Circulation figures showed the Cassville Branch overtook Monett for the largest distribution of items in September. Mt. Vernon and Aurora claimed the third and four spots.
Branches offered 184 programs and had a total attendance of 1,955 in September. Usage of the Wi-Fi service at the Mt. Vernon Branch had increased.
The Aurora Branch was due to be weeded for books no longer circulating. Milburn expected the job would take longer than usual since the branch inventory had not been reviewed for several years. The Purdy Branch was scheduled for the next review.
In staffing changes, Donna Carlo had taken the part-time library assistant's position in children's services.
Five staff members attended the Missouri Library Association Conference in Springfield.
Several speakers presented talks on dealing with various personality types, collection maintenance and team building during the annual staff meeting on Oct. 8.