Savonburg library benefits from stimulus

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March 10, 2010 - 12:00 AM

SAVONBURG — The bottom line for Savonburg Public Library ballooned by 40 percent Tuesday afternoon.
Library officials accepted a check for $4,713.50 from the Southeast Kansas Community Action Program. The money comes down the pipe from the Obama administration’s American Recovery & Reinvestment Act.
The funds will be used to hire two student library assistants for summer months, plus buy 150 DVDs and 70 audio books.
Students applying for the positions must be from households that meet or are below 200 percent of federal poverty guidelines. A family of four, for example, must make $44,100 or less.
Robin Betts, librarian, and Kathy Hale, treasurer of the library board of directors, were instrumental in submitting the grant that requested the hiring of the youths and updating of its multi-media collection.
Funding was through a Community Capacity Building initiative for which a total of $487,000 was budgeted for SEKCAP’s 12-county area. The grants went to projects that would enrich low-income families, stimulate the local economy and create jobs.
Betts said the library’s grant will meet all three criteria for the town.
Updating and expanding its audio books and DVD collection gives the rural community resources that are high in demand.
For 2009, the library circulated 4,597 items, many of which were not books. Because many Savonburg residents commute to their jobs, the demand for books on CD is high, Betts said. The library currently has less than a dozen audio books.
Movies on DVD are also in high demand. Betts hopes building both the CD and DVD collections will also attract donors to add to the collections and allow the library to weed out video items on VHS format. At present, the library is unable to adequately meet requests from its patrons, Betts said.
The two part-time positions will benefit both those hired and the library.
For the youths, who must be 16-21 and live within a 10-mile radius of the library, it will mean 75 hours of gainful employment. They will each be paid $7.25 an hour for a total of $543.75 over the summer.
For Betts, it will mean a chance to catch up on a backlog of 500 items that need entering into the library’s catalog system. In February 2009 the library “went automated” Betts said, necessitating that all materials be bar-coded and entered into the Southeast Kansas Library System catalog. Its participation in SKLS allows patrons to take advantage of the SEKnFind loan program in which patrons can access materials from other libraries at no charge.

SAVONBURG library is open 12 hours a week. Assistants are especially needed during the summer when circulation typically doubles due to the summer reading programs for youths, Betts said.
Though the town of Savonburg has only 89 citizens, the library has 230 patrons, demonstrating its far reach. Citizens from neighboring towns of Elsmore, Stark and Walnut are regular users, Betts said.
The city of Savonburg supports the library to the tune of $3,500-$4,000 annually. Property taxes add another $735. The remaining of its budget is met through state and federal allocations.
This year’s budget was $11,488, up from its usual $10,000 due to two grants that helped purchase two new public-use computers and more materials.

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