Library to remain open through at least Aug. 31

FALLS CITY — The Wagner Community Library will remain open at least until Aug. 31, enough time to complete the 2018 summer reading program.

The Falls City City Council had approved closing the library on June 30, 2018, following a closing procedure that requires two public hearings. At its Nov. 9 meeting, the council was scheduled to approve a timeline for the closing process.

Wagner Library Advisory Committee Chairwoman Amy Houghtaling requested the council move the closing date to accommodate the summer program.

Wagner received a grant to pay for its summer reading program, funding it would lose if the library closed before the series ended.

“The summer reading program is a huge benefit to our kids,” Houghtaling said.

Terry Ungricht, Falls City’s acting city manager, said moving the closing date would cost about $11,000. He said the funding is available in the Wagner account.

“If we have the funding, we absolutely should,” said Councilor Lori Jean Sickles.

Houghtaling said the committee, Falls City School Board member Bob Young and Librarian Andy Rommel discussed the most-used services at the library at the committee’s last meeting.

“I asked the question: What needs is the Wagner Library meeting and is there another way to meet those needs?” Houghtaling said.

Rommel said computer use, the summer reading program and book checkout for home-school families.

“We talked about other ways that those needs can be met,” Houghtaling said.

She said the Family Academics Community and Enrichment Success, or FACES, after-school program might be able to step in to fill some of those needs. In February, FACES will apply for a new five-year grant, which could include offering a summer reading program through the Falls City Elementary School library.

Acting City Manager Terry Ungricht said the new Falls City Direct Connect free shuttle service could take people to the Dallas or Monmouth libraries, as well.

Houghtaling said the committee decided finding alternatives might be the best use of its time.

“As we talked about it, then the committee thought, instead of putting our efforts toward finding grants to keep the library open, we would just focus on when we write a new FACES grant and other grants for after school, that we would include meeting the needs of the community as well,” she said.

Ungricht said the date of closure could be moved and city staff could still proceed with the process with the different date.

The council unanimously voted to move the closure date to Aug. 31.

“I think that’s an invaluable service for our community and for the kids,” said Councilor Dennis Sickles. “They put a lot of effort into it, putting that together.”

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