To the Editor:
The recent Grand Lake Town Board meeting with the Library District was both nominally cordial AND direct. Mayor Judy Burke, bravely withheld no polite punches and called our town the ‘stepchild’ (more graphic terminology was used) of the county since in the past few years we have both lost our elementary school, and had our Juniper Library weekly hours cut to just 23.
Perhaps I was just as direct when asking: “Open OR closed, our libraries have many fixed expenses--ie: taxes, insurance, debt services, many utilities. Recognizing this, how much more on a 6-hour- per-diem basis, would it cost to hire one librarian and two volunteers? In other words, how much more does it cost to keep our library open instead of closed.” This direct question got a non-answer. Thinking inversely, it seems fairly logical that the Library Board would know how much would be saved by closing five libraries two days a week. Maybe not. Anyway, the Executive Director stated we would need two librarians, except for perhaps Hot Sulphur Springs, but we know for a fact that Juniper has sometimes operated quite well in the recent past with just one librarian.
The Library Board Chairman, however, was willing to listen and did take good notes. For the record, we did too, and here are the questions to be answered by them as expeditiously as possible::
1. How much does it cost to run Juniper Library on a 6-hour basis ABOVE fixed expenses?
2. As expressed by a sympathetic Board at this meeting, indeed can specific donations NOW be made to specific branches/libraries?
3. Can all of the Libraries be opened on Fridays to meet the many needs of our students?
4. Can several evening Adult Programs be added to each branch again to promote visitation by our 2nd home-owners as a good reason to visit us and our many snow drifts?
5. Can days/hours be extended for our busy Summer Season?
We note that an Executive Director position for our district has just been posted with a salary between $50,000 to $75,000 PLUS benefits--nearly twice that of most of our hard-working teachers. It is also thousands more than earned by our mayor--who collects zero. Maybe, if we all trim our belts, we could buy a few more hours for each branch. Wishful thinking--certainly hope not.