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City Council won't pay for some library items, Dixon Library Board learns
City Council won't pay for some library items, Dixon Library Board learns

Assistant Librarian Lois Dodds shows an example of the books that can be purchased for $7.50 for the Dixon Library.
DIXON, Mo. (Nov. 24, 2008) — Faced with a decision by Dixon city officials not to pay several substantial bills for library equipment and promotional materials, members of the Dixon Library Board said Friday night they were frustrated by their status as an advisory committee.

“The reason I bring this up was city council decided not to pay this, but then they tell us we are an advisory board,” said Head Librarian Cheryl Chambers. “Whenever there is something like this and it is for the city’s benefit, my personal feeling is the city should pay for it. But in the future, let’s see if we can get donations from businesses so we don’t have to pay for it at all.”

Board member Shirley Wise agreed.

“If we are an advisory board, we shouldn’t have to worry about this,” she said.

However, her husband, board member Ed Wise, said getting private donations carries an added complication of promoting business donors.

“I don’t think anybody is going to pay for this without getting their name on it, too,” Ed Wise said.

Board President Susan Hohman said she’s sorry the problem began.

“This is a learning experience for all of us,” Hohman said.

Assistant Librarian Lois Dobbs said she never expected a ‘no’ answer from city officials.

“It was a natural assumption; when they tell you to turn the bills over to them, you don’t expect to get back, ‘We’re not going to pay for this,’” Dobbs said.

Hohman said a better procedure needs to be developed.

“I know this will be difficult for you by adding another step, but could you in the future ask the city if they will pay for things and if they say ‘no,’ then bring it to the board?” Hohman asked. “It would be good if you could call us and then we could at least call and talk about it among ourselves and call a special meeting.”

“This is not a reprimand; I am just trying to think how we can be more comfortable with this in the future,” Hohman said.

Dodds said denials by the city council haven’t been common.

“Little bills there hasn’t been a problem with, but it’s big bills for things like these library shelves,” Dodds said. “But we need them and we were told they would pay for things like this.”

The total amount of unpaid bills wasn’t immediately available. After the meeting, Chambers said the total cost for shelves was in the range of several hundred dollars.

Board members also discussed ways they could raise their own money for the library without having to use city funds. A recent chili cook-off raised $160 and Hohman asked if the concept could be expanded to include open houses in conjunction with other city events.

“I think the chili cook-off was good, it brought notice for the library from the community,” Hohman said. “I thought maybe we could do something at the library for Christmas that would do the same and bring more people in.”

Hohman said using the media was effective.

“My kids call me queen of cheap for a reason — we were able to make $160 of pure profit with no advertising at all because of all the articles we put in the paper,” Hohman said.

Board member Ellen Barnes cautioned that not everyone is reached by articles in the Dixon Pilot.

“There is only one problem: not everybody reads the paper, and even those who get it don’t always read it,” Barnes said. “A lot of people who get the paper aren’t from here so they don’t read it because it doesn’t interest them.”

“I guess we’ll just have to do more flyers next time,” Hohman said.

Another way to help the library, Dodds said, is to pay money for library books. Dodds said the library received a box of 100 library books, five of which can be taken for free and the remainder can be purchased at a rate of $12 per book, with 40 given free to the library if 60 are purchased. Library Board members agreed to offer the books for sale to Dixon residents for donation to the library at a cost of $7.50 per book, which would provide the library the full box of 100 books if 60 are purchased.

In other business:

• Board members Lana Kennedy and Joyce Mings submitted their resignation from the library board, and Ellen Barnes was selected as the board’s new treasurer.

• Dodds reported that a new computerized card catalog system purchased by the Dixon Library is working well, but the library has several thousand books left to catalog.

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