Board gets libraries’ request, report

By Mary Zielinski
Posted 1/4/22

Despite cautions and procedures necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the three county libraries continued providing services, both in person and online, to its more than16,000 card-holding patrons …

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Board gets libraries’ request, report

Posted

Despite cautions and procedures necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the three county libraries continued providing services, both in person and online, to its more than16,000 card-holding patrons in 2021, the Washington County Board of Supervisors learned on Tuesday, Jan. 4.

In its annual report and funding request, the Washington County Library Association noted that 83,059 items were checked with 15,783 to rural residents. But even more, the libraries offered story times, book clubs, writing groups and readers advisory resources. As for resources, the three together have a collection of nearly 200,000 books, sound recordings, videos, eBooks, Audiobooks and eMagazines.  Even more, the Interlibrary Loan network through the state provides access to the collections of 1,801 other libraries throughout Iowa.

“Our digital libraries are available 24/7,” explained Cary Ann Siegfried, Washington Library Director, noting that the resources of the three libraries have saved its patrons $788,550 in providing borrowing services as opposed to purchasing materials. That also means having 39 computers for public use and 49 online databases and learning services, including Brainfuse Job Now.  The latter offers online job coaching and adult education skill building.

The funds from the county have purchased the IT maintenance contract with KCTC in Kalona and Washington for 24/7 technical support, paid for continuing education for library staff, further digitalizing of collections and databases, movie licenses so all three can show movies to the public, and the summer reading programs for each library. During the summer of 2021, the program was attended by 1,500 in Kalona alone and county funding has provided snacks, juices and materials for all three programs.

Last year, the county support was $165,000 for fiscal 2020-21. The Association is requesting only a 2% increase ($3,300) for fiscal 2022-23. It amounts to a $19.96 per capita funding for the county, based on the 2020 census. Beyond the listed programs, the remainder of funds from the county are divided among the three libraries to help with cost of providing services to rural residents. The board will review all funding requests this month.

In other business, the board:

• held the first reading of Ordinance 22-1 on the proposed revised county districting plan and precinct plan that will have polling places in Ainsworth, Brighton, Kalona, Richmond, Riverside, four wards in Washington City and Wellman. Crawfordsville is now in Ainsworth Precinct, West Chester in Wellman precinct, and Richmond has regained its former precinct.  Second reading is January 11;

• approved hiring of Michael Johnston, ambulance EMT, effective December 29, 2021 at $20.37 hourly;

• appointed Barb Donkersloot to a five-year term on the Washington County conservation board (WCCB); and

• appointed supervisor Stan Stoops to the 8th Judicial District Correctional Board.

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