Morenci library board discusses county proposal 2011.12.21

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Discussion last month about a county-wide library district has Morenci’s Stair Public Library board concerned about losing autonomy of its operations.

Adrian Public Library director Carol Souchock scheduled an informational session Nov. 28 to discuss the formation of a district library. An attorney who specializes in library law was present to discuss the steps required.

Tecumseh’s library is the only one in the county that operates as an independent district library. The others—Adrian, Blissfield, Clinton Township, Hudson and Morenci—are all affiliated with their local governments. In addition, the Lenawee County Library, founded by the county commissioners and based in Adrian, operates branch libraries in Addison, Britton, Clayton, Deerfield and Onsted.

Earlier this year, a cost-savings proposal was made to consolidate the Adrian city library with the county library, but the discussion Nov. 28 presented an opportunity to bring all of the county’s libraries together into a single district.

The plan calls for formation of a district library planning committee in February 2012 and a levy proposal to appear on the August 2013 ballot. The committee would decide how much millage to request. If the funding proposal failed, the district would not be formed.

The first step is for each participating library board and government unit to adopt a resolution to appoint representatives to the planning committee. Forming a library district could serve as a collaborative effort to meet requirements set forth by Michigan governor Rick Snyder.

Stair Public Library’s board of trustees met in a special session Dec. 8 to discuss the matter.

Library director Colleen Leddy spoke about a loss of autonomy because Stair would no longer have its own board of trustees. Instead, a district board would form—either by appointment or election—and it’s possible that Morenci would have no representation.

Board president Sally Kruger said the change would result in Morenci having to compete with other libraries in the district for funding.

Morenci has scheduled many author visits in the past, she noted, and someone at the Nov. 28 meeting pointed out the benefit of sharing visiting authors.

“But someone else would decide who is going to come and at which libraries they would appear,” Kruger said.

She pointed out that with a local board, decisions can be made quickly about seeking a grant for a special project, but by the time a district board made a decision, the grant opportunity could be gone.

“We’re small and we’re rural,” Leddy said. “That benefits us in so many ways.”

Several grants the library has received are available only to smaller libraries.

Kruger expressed concern that a county-wide district could lead to less funding for Stair which would result in fewer services.

Leddy sees the following options for the library:

• Trying to remain the same, despite unstable funding sources.

• Joining a county district and losing autonomy and perhaps funding.

• Forming its own library district. In that case, residents within the district would have to approve a millage to support the library.

Leddy considers doing nothing at all a head-in-the-sand approach. Even if the county-wide district doesn’t go through, she thinks the board should explore options.

Kruger said many of the questions asked at the Nov. 28 meeting were answered with the statement that the district library planning committee will decide.

That uncertainty caught the attention of city council’s library representative Robert Jennings who attended the Stair board’s special meeting.

“It amazes me how much we don’t know,” he said.

  • Shadow.salon
    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.carry.casket
    CARRYING—Riley Terry (blue jacket) and Mason Vaughn lead the way, carrying an empty casket outside to the hearse waiting at the curb. Morenci juniors and seniors visited Eagle Funeral Home last week to learn about the role of a funeral director and to understand the process of arranging for a funeral.
  • Front.lift
    MORENCI student Dalton McCowan puts everything into a dead lift attempt Saturday morning during the Wyseguy Push/Pull event. Lifters helped raise more than $1,600 for the family of the late Devin Wyse, a former Morenci power-lifter who graduated last year. Commemorative T-shirts are still available by contacting teacher Dan Hoffman.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2016