By Steve Peterson
The controversial topic of proposals for county funding from two public library groups was discussed at the Jan. 7 Plymouth County Supervisors.
The two groups are the Le Mars Public Library and the Plymouth County Library Association of Akron, Merrill, Kingsley and Remsen.
Le Mars councilors, along with Le Mars Public Library officials, wish to change how library services to rural residents are figured in the county’s Rural Fund. They want the supervisors to either to raise the county library services tax to equal the city tax or let them change the Association’s contract with the county to eliminate electronic library services to rural residents. Then they would create a special library card, which rural residents would have to pay for, if they wanted to be able to use the Le Mars library’s electronic services.
Since last fall, the other Association members have refused to meet with Le Mars Library Director Sue Kroesche because they disagree with Le Mars’ plan of service to rural residents.
“They need to get together and have a meeting, Akron Public Library Director Jeanie Frerichs told me Sunday,” said Supervisor Jim Henrich, passing on the message to his fellow supervisors.
The Association has requested a total of $80,000 from the county for the next fiscal year, which is the same as they received this year.
Supervisors also discussed what happens if the Le Mars Public Library dropped out of the Association. Then the county’s support of libraries for rural patrons could decrease to about $60,000 as the Le Mars Public Library’s share is about $20,000 of the county’s funding.
“I would hope someday we can get county funding to the mid-range of counties in the state,” said Supervisor Craig Anderson. “I don’t know why anyone would leave a library association that has been working well for 30 years.”
“The ball is in their court,” said Supervisor Don Kass.