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Thursday, February 9, 2012
Books and things that matter
My first meeting as a member of the American Fork City Library Board and I already have a cause to promote.
Buy more books.
No, make that get more money to buy more books.
Seems that over the years, the library has taken budget hits every time the economy lagged or the city had to tighten its belt.
There have been some years that there's been no money for adding to the library collection. So over time, the American Fork City Library has fallen behind, so much so that the state library association has told us our certification is in jeopardy.
The standard is for a library to spend at least 9 percent of its operating budget on its collection.
American Fork's percentage is 6 percent, roughly 3 percent below what it should be, that for a library that is seeing ever increasing use.
That needs to change and one way to deal with it is to ask the city council to assign a portion of its property tax to the library, something other communities routinely do.
The taxpayer wouldn't see any change in the tax bill and the library would no longer be subject to the rise and fall in revenues. We, as a board, and the librarian in charge, could rely on a consistent amount of funding and make solid plans based on stability.
It would eliminate so much anxiety and assure an ongoing high quality of library service to the community.
It would make things even.
And it would respond to the taxpayers who told us in 1997 that they WANT a high-quality library which — it goes without saying — includes the latest in collection items.
If you're interested in convincing the local city council that this is truly what we as readers, parents, teachers and constituents want, let me or us know. We're aiming at presenting our case to the city council in the March budget meeting.
You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or Sheena Parker at the library at: email@example.com