District library: Time for townships to decide 2012.05.30

Written by David Green.

Plans to form a Lenawee County district library are moving forward and area township boards of trustees will soon learn what it means. Representatives from the district library planning committee will attend Seneca and Medina township meetings to explain what the proposal means to township residents.

The new district would combine the Adrian Public Library and the existing Lenawee County Library—long with its branches—plus any other libraries that choose to join. At this time, no other libraries have indicated an intent to join.

If Seneca and Medina township boards decide not to join the proposed county-wide district library and instead maintain an affiliation with Morenci’s Stair Public Library, then township residents would not be able to use the new county-wide district library without paying a fee. On the other hand, if trustees decide to become part of the new district library, residents will pay in another way: through a millage that will fund the new library system.

What a deal. Join us and pay or don’t join us and pay. Use of Stair Public Library will remain available to township members at no charge.

Members of Stair Public Library’s board of trustees have already expressed their desire to remain independent and not join the proposed County/Adrian district. This means that Morenci residents would not pay a county district library millage, nor would they be able to check out materials from the district library, at least not without paying for a library card. The county library as it exists today—supported by county tax funds and available to everyone—would be gone.

All of this is dependent on a successful millage campaign for support of the new district. If the vote fails, then Adrian Public Library will remain a separate entity from the county library.

Seneca and Medina trustees need to weigh the costs of the changes. Is there local support for the proposed district library system with its millage? Would the proposed district library be used by a sufficient number of residents to justify having everyone pay the new millage? What’s the cost of the millage for a typical resident vs. the cost of paying for a library card at the proposed district library? Will the county commissioners decrease taxes to offset the library millage? Details of the district plan need to be known before township trustees can make an informed decision.

It’s a good time for township residents to talk with trustees and let them know what they want with regard to library services.

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