Library trustees hear from the public
Pulaski County Public Library board trustees spent time during a regular meeting on Nov. 25 listening to an audience of concerns regarding the Medaryville branch library closing.
Those in the audience were given two to three minutes to voice their opinion. The library did allow for Susan Bergens to speak a tad longer as she was acting as a representative for the majority of the audience.
Bergens presented the trustees with a petition that contained 753 signatures. She said several of those who signed the petition made comments about keeping the library open. She also presented the board with a letter from the former West Central Title I director, a parent letter and several student letters.
“We need vision and community involvement in the evolution of a library to meet patron needs,” she said.
She said that with the library only being open two days a week and not during ideal hours for children makes attendance and use of the library difficult.
“There is a huge need over there,” she said. “I know that you have a tough decision to make, but I really urge you to reconsider and rescind what you have already decided.”
Closing of the library was officially announced on Nov. 2, although talk of the closing began in 2012.
In September of 2012, the board capped the expenditures at $6.18 per checkout. It appears that the cap was met in April of this year and the board decided it was time to close the library branch. Cass and White Post townships do provide tax funding to the Pulaski County Public Library because of it being part of the library district.
This is not the first time the library has closed or the threat to close has happened. In 1986, the library was scheduled to close on Nov. 1, because of the alleged deteriorating condition of the building and a history of poor usage. In 2001, there was also a threat of closing the library because of the condition of the building.
The library trustees have said they want to continue to have a presence in the town and are looking at other options. The library will continue to offer Internet services that can be used from the outside of the building.
Town councilwoman-elect Susan Wilcoxon questioned why any adult would think it was OK to allow children to sit outside in the cold to use the Wi-Fi at the library.
“I cannot imagine anyone here would let their children or their relatives’ children stay outside the library in the cold, in the dark, trying to do their homework,” she said.
Wilcoxon said she believes the newly-elected Medaryville Town Council would be open to talking with the library trustees about what options are available.
Not all of those who were in attendance were opposed to the library closing. Ryan Harrison, of Pulaski, was in favor of it. He compared the areas of Star City and Pulaski as being “equally as big” as Medaryville but are not serviced by a library.
He suggested that those in Medaryville be thankful that they will have Internet. “As a Pulaski County resident I do not want to see the services here in Winamac sacrificed for the people in Medaryville, who are not using the services.”
Along with residents from the Medaryville area, Pulaski County Commissioner Larry Brady, Pulaski County Councilman Mike Tiede and State Representative Doug Gutwein were in attendance.
Not only is Tiede a council member but he owns several properties in Medaryville. His concern is for the Medaryville youth and that it is a sad situation that only two businesses will be open on Main Street after the library closes.
“It would be good to keep the library open but I don’t know how you will do it. If you need somebody to volunteer to be there one day a month I will,” Tiede said.
Brady said he has heard from several people about the library. He is in support of the library staying open and hopes some kind of collaboration can happen whether with the town or another entity.
Gutwein asked several questions that were answered by both the library trustees and those in the audience. He said he wasn’t there to make any judgments but find out more information.
Trustee president Richard Mynark thanked those who were in the audience for attending the meeting.
“Rest assured that we will take these comments under advisement,” he said. “Give us a chance to reevaluate the situation based on your input.”
The Pulaski County Public Library Medaryville branch will officially close on Dec. 31.