Library nurtures community in many ways


BG Independent News

Bowling Green students will be able to borrow digital material without even going to the library, and folks in Walbridge will be able to go to the library to get water.

These were among the matters before the Wood County District Public Library Board when it met Monday. (See for story on board’s decision to replace community tree.)

Children’s Librarian Maria Simon explained the new E-cards that were distributed to students in grades 3 through 11 this week. The cards will give students access to such online libraries as Hoopla Digital, TumbleBooks and The Ohio Digital Library.

Because the materials borrowed using the cards are automatically returned, no fines are charged on the cards. Information is available both through the library and the schools on how to use them.

Students cannot borrow physical material from the library using the cards.

The E-cards are another way of encouraging students to read during the summer, Simon said.

The library board approved an agreement with the Northwestern Water and Sewer District for the district to install one of its watershed units at the newly expanded Walbridge branch.

The unit will be installed in a closet-size space with outdoor access.

The district will pay for installation. In exchange for locating the unit at the library it will not charge the library for water or sewer service and will pay $$200 in rent.

Library Director Michael Penrod said this will provide another service to the community.

Also at the meeting, the board discussed the prospects for state funding.

State library funding is provided based on a percentage of the state’s general revenues. In the past biennium budget that percentage was 1.7 percent of the state’s revenues, higher than the previous rate of 1.66 percent.

Penrod said he expects that percentage will be bumped back down to 1.66 percent. The Ohio Library Council is advocating for the number to stay at 1.7percent.

How much that will generate is uncertain because state revenues have consistently been coming in lower than projected.

“As an organization we just need to be very careful in our budgeting,” said Board Chair Brian Paskvan.

State funding accounts for 53 percent of the library’s $3.24 million in revenues

Penrod said such financial uncertainties make fundraisers all the more important. The Library Foundation’s annual benefit at Schedel Arboretum and Gardens will be held July 20 from 6 to 8 p.m. Tickets are $100.

The board also heard from Shannon Orr, a political science professor at Bowling Green State University, whose graduate level public administration program has been contracted to conduct a survey to gather information to be used in the three-year strategic plan. That plan will plot the course for the library leading up to the next time its local levy will be on the ballot in 2020.

Orr, whose class just conducted a survey for the city school district on its building needs, gave the library board an overview of her process.

The class will send one survey to a controlled sample of residents. These will provide the actual data. However, as with the school survey, the opinions of others will also be sought with surveys available at the library and online. These will be aimed more at soliciting comments with the results separate from the mailed survey.

Over the summer the board will decide what information they want the survey to cover, then when classes resume in August, Orr will set her public administration graduate students to work formulating the questions, determining the sample, mailing the surveys, and the calculating the results.