If you have been following this blog you know that life long learning is very important to me. I am an avid reader and would be lost without access to the library.
Our local library has been in the remodeling process for the last few months. I asked our Librarian, Jan, if I could do a post about the new library and share some history. So, in guest post style I give you Jan’s rendition of our local library:
The local Public Library was established in June 1998 by the County Literacy Council, as a volunteer library, when they realized there was a need for a public library in the area. There had never been a good public library in the town’s history, so they began the process of establishing one. An agreement was made with the Town Board of Trustees to use the north half of the town hall. The literacy council found old books in the basement of the Legion and began to clean them for use. They acquired some funds to purchase boards and brackets to set up shelving and began the process of cleaning and painting what had once been the old clinic.
In 1999, the Library Board of Trustees approached the town board to become a line item on their yearly budget when volunteers could no longer be found and it was becoming clear the library was needed. The Town Board gave the literacy council some money to do with as they pleased, but did not accept the library as a line item. At that time the literacy council hired Jan Gossman to work 15 hours per week operating and managing the library. The Library Trustee members continued to raise operating money through various fund-raisers throughout the year. They also received donations and the literacy council provided some Internet service for one computer supplied by the council.
However, by 2000, it was clear the library could not operate in that way and could not apply for available grants. With such an increase in usage of the library, board members approached the town board once again, about taking the library in as a line-item on their budget. That was not finalized until September of 2001, when the Town Board agreed to put the library on their budget, but only gave an operating budget of $6,000 for a part-time librarian, utilities expenses and supplies. The Library Board would have to continue to do fund raising events to raise money for other expenses such as books, etc.
In May of 2001, the part of the building the library was in was condemned because the floor was falling in, and the library was shut down. In October of that year, an agreement was made with the museum committee to move into the museum and take over a small portion of space for the books.
The library had received two computer systems through a program from then Governor Bill Janklow and one computer system from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2001. Those computers were set up in the lobby of the museum on donated computer stands. The local telephone Cooperative provided the library with free Internet service, which still continues today.
Though there was no heat in the museum where the books were housed, the library continued to flourish while at the same time keeping the museum open on a regular basis. Since that time the library board has spent countless hours fund raising and donations have been made to start a building fund. In the fall of 2010, an agreement was made with the museum board that the library would take over a 32 foot by the width of the building space to provide a warm, safe environment for a library.
After this agreement was made, things just started to fall in place for the library. Five tons of shelving was donated to the library from Sioux Land libraries in Sioux Falls, SD. Volunteers came forward to help do carpentry work; the Girl Scouts volunteered to do a fantastic mural in the children’s section as a community award project; Jolly Ranchers 4-H club came forward with grant money to purchase paint as well as help paint the walls; countless other volunteers have come forward to help move shelving from storage; set up and clean the shelving; move books from storage and get them on the shelves. The library could not have gotten this monumental project finished without the help of all the volunteers, for which we are so very grateful. It has shown this library is a community project.
Now the library needs to continue fund raising to meet their commitment with the museum to replace the space they took away from the museum, at an estimated cost of $20,000. We hope you, our public supporters, will help us realize that goal.
Every time I go in the Library I am amazed at the mural. Here is the full view:
Thank You, Jan, for writing this post and providing the “works in progress” photos.
How important is the Library to you and the community you live in?