Apologetic over a slight delay in starting, Kathy Davis picked up the gavel to convene the first meeting in Medford’s central branch since its reopening. She’d been checking out a book; got caught up in the surroundings, and lost track of time. The group understood, and agreed they loved being back in this building.
LSSI transition team leader, Mark L. Smith delivered a glowing progress report on the opening of all fifteen branches. He described the transition as "smooth, gratifying, and with no significant problems." He noted increases in new registrations. Besides the returning customers, about 600 previously unregistered patrons joined the libraries’ rolls in the past two weeks. Of these, 66 enrolled at Upper Rogue branches-24 in Eagle Point; 38 in White City, 3 in Shady Cove, and 1 in Butte Falls.
Circulation figures show Eagle Point checking out 1,158 items; White
City, 503; Shady Cove, 463; Butte Falls, 157; and Prospect, 40. Smith
called these totals outstanding, especially considering the abbreviated
hours of operation. He also cited the surprising success of Ashland’s
unprecedented accessibility on Sundays. Other progress he highlighted:
Adult reference and information services restarted in all branches on opening day.
of the children’s programming is in place. Storymobile services to
childcare centers are up and running. The books to the homebound
program is currently "information gathering–contacting this program’s
customers to determine most-critical needs, and priorities." Smith
expressed his staff’s appreciation of the "overwhelmingly positive and
frequent coverage from the local news media."
head of all branches, mentioned another positive note: "Books are
starting to return. We’ve recovered lots of valuable material people
had borrowed before last April’s closings."
regarding long-term funding solutions still linger for the advisory
council. To address these concerns, a blue ribbon committee comprised
of attorney Dan Thorndike, and former county administrator Burke
Raymond spoke. Thorndike told of options. Could a special district be
part of the county, making it subject to general fund limitations?
Could a stand-alone district float bonding measures? "Do you include
all of the county, go with the school district boundaries, or draw your
own? That takes long to do. It’s better to go with the biggest existing
area boundaries you can find."
Raymond stated a
preference for having all local government activities under one tent.
"It increases accountability," he said, "but when you put things on the
ballot, you can get a "yes and no" vote result-"yes to creating the
district; no to funding it. There’s not enough on the property tax
rolls to do it. The feds aren’t coming through. Few people understand
that county taxes are dedicated. The funds are locked up. The Board of
Commissioners needs to come up with a way to get funding," he
Chair Davis referred to the permanent-funding
issue as a (year) 2010 question, and conveyed appreciation for the
interest and support she’d observed thus far.
by F. C. Blake
Of the Independent