January is budget time. On Jan. 22 the preliminary city budget is due at city hall and on Jan. 26 the Cherokee County Library Association will meet with the county supervisors.
The following paragraphs contain a letter that is one of six to be handed out as part of the county presentation but it speaks to the city budget as well. Please read it and share any concerns you have with city councilmen and county supervisors. Individual voices can make a big impact and your help is needed and appreciated!
Thank you for the opportunity to discuss library funding with you. We know you are aware of the monetary challenges faced each year by all of the public libraries in the county and we appreciate your annual support.
The Cherokee Public Library serves a wide variety of people. We do a great business with the rural residents of Cherokee County as well as patrons who live in Cherokee and other county municipalities. Our list of library users includes nearby towns such as Sutherland and Holstein and stretches as far away as Spencer and Sioux City. Our society is a mobile one and people use public libraries wherever they are. We believe our services and facility enhance our county and encourage visits to it.
In these hard economic times with limited budgets and rising prices, it is important to realize the role of libraries. A public library provides free Internet access to people who cannot afford to have a computer or connection at home. It provides newspapers and magazines to those who are not able to accommodate subscriptions in their personal budgets. It provides an inexpensive source of entertainment to families who are struggling to make ends meet.
People expect our library to contain up to date computers and Internet service. They expect to find the latest magazines and area newspapers on our shelves. They expect to check out the newest books in regular print, large print and audio formats. They expect to find recent movies in our collection. They expect a full program of children's activities. They expect to find library staff who are able to help them access and understand library services. They expect to find a pleasant clean building. All of this costs money.
In the next year we will need to replace at least eight of our public access computers. We will need to subscribe to over 90 magazines and area newspapers. We will need to purchase approximately 85 books, 15 audios and 10 DVDs each month to keep our collections current. We will need to pay adequate staff, maintain our building and keep a level of open hours that is convenient for our patrons. What we will really need is your help!
We encourage you to visit county libraries and see what they do. Money spent on our libraries is money invested in the people of Cherokee County.