Librarians worry about county funds
Chickasaw County’s public librarians are hoping it’s nothing more than rumors, but they are attempting to mobilize support because of fears that the county will either cut or reduce funding to the county’s six libraries.
“We’re hearing that they’re willing to fund 2018-19 but that they’re seriously, considering nothing or the bare minimum for fiscal 2020,” New Hampton Public Library Director Carrie Becker said, “and that is beyond concerning for us. It would drastically cut services our local libraries can offer, and I don’t think we’re wrong to say if that funding was eliminated, it would be devastating.”
The librarians and and library supporters are asking for residents to turn out for the Board of Supervisors’ annual budget and tax levy hearing that will be held at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, March 5, at the courthouse to speak out in favor of libraries.
The county currently provides about $120,000 to libraries in New Hampton, Nashua, Fredericksburg, Lawler, Ionia and Alta Vista.
Becker pointed out that represents less than 1 percent — 0.83 percent to be exact — of the county’s budget, but she said those dollars represent significant portions of the libraries’ budgets.
The New Hampton Public Library, for example, has an annual budget of around $177,000, and it receives $27,000 — or 15 percent of its total budget — from Chickasaw County.
“Fifteen percent is a major cut,” Becker said, “and we’d actually be the library least affected by the loss of county funding. That’s scary to me.”
For more of this article, see Tuesday's Tribune.