Saturday, May 18, 2013
Covering Dallas, Monmouth, Independence, Falls City and surrounding areas since 1868
March 19, 2013
FALLS CITY -- Beginning in September, the Wagner Community Library in Falls City needs $2,001 per month to keep operating -- every month, without fail, or it is in danger of closing.
Barring receiving more state school funding than the Falls City School District is expecting, that is the short-term solution to keeping the library open. The district pays for library staff and maintenance.
The district announced in December it needed to cut $82,000 from its budget due to a shortfall in its local option levy. Of that amount, $26,000 pays for a half-time librarian.
Responding to concerns in the community, the Falls City School Board announced Monday at a public hearing the library will be open until Aug. 31. It will stay open as long as $2,001 comes in each month.
"We don't want to see the library close any more than you do," said board member Donna Creekmore. "It is just as painful for us. It's not something that we want to do."
If funding for a professional librarian is cut, the library would lose Chemeketa Cooperative Regional Library Service (CCRLS) services, said CCRLS Executive Director John Goodyear. CCRLS offers technology support, a book cataloging system, and access to a larger collection of materials shared among member libraries.
According to usage stats, Wagner served 2,025 people last year. Falls City resident Mary Hake said that statistic is encouraging.
"If every one of those people paid $10, we would get enough money to keep the library open for the next school year," she said. "We can all work together and do this. It's not an outrageous amount."
She said collecting funding for the 2013-14 school year would give residents more time to develop a long-term funding plan.
School Board Chairman Bob Young offered another course of action: contacting state legislators. He said the board could invest more money into the library if schools were given a larger amount of funding.
"Tell them that this community needs a library and this library is funded by the school district," Young said.
A fundraising committee meets every Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. at Wagner, 111 N. Main St. A second hearing will be held June 24.
"This is the time we really need to find our pioneering spirit and work for this," said Falls City Councilor Barbara Spencer. "Unless you want the town to die, unless you want the school to die, we are going to have to really work hard at this."