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Great Bend Public Library to align summer hours with school calendar
Librarys TAG expanding
Great Bend Public Library 1
Great Bend Public Library. - photo by Tribune file photo

Next year, patrons of the Great Bend Public Library will find summer hours aligned with the USD 428 school year. Now, instead of hours changing between Memorial Day and Labor Day, the actual dates will shift from year to year depending on the school calendar. After looking into the change, the only cost associated with the change will be replacing the tie-on sign that advertises the hours, and that, Director Harry Willems said, is in need of replacing anyway. But, he added, they will need to determine the best way to communicate the message on the sign, as the actual dates will change from year to year. That’s something the Board of Directors were willing to discuss later, as they approved the proposal at their monthly meeting Monday afternoon.

Library under budget
During the business portion of the meeting, Willems shared that the library has been able to save about eight percent of its budget, in part because of changes with personnel.
“I think that the amount that we have left over at the end of the year will likely be nine, bordering on 10 percent because expenses typically go down at the end of the year,” he said.
The board opted to lock the savings in by moving $45,000 from the general fund to the capital improvement fund. This way, the money can be carried over until next year, and can be used as needed through the year by transferring it back to the general fund.
Willems noted that the library can transfer up to 10 percent of the ad valorem taxes collected, up to $69,000, in this way. Board member Colleen Newman asked if the savings could be used to replace some of the old computers, which Willems said was a possibility, and something the board could look into. The last time the library began replacing computers was eight years ago, and he agreed some of those early replacements may be due for replacement again.

Department report
The board heard from Assistant Director Deidre Lemon. Response to the “3 Generations” art display has been positive, and Lemon was contacted by Brian Hutchison at USD 428, requesting student art be displayed next month.
The Teen Advisory Group, also known as TAG, has expanded to include more teens interested in volunteering. They recently assembled hot chocolate and chocolate covered spoons for the FBLA craft sale, with all funds raised going to the March of Dimes, Lemon said.
She also praised efforts by Elizabeth Dukelow, who recently began writing a column for the Great Bend Tribune about new books and media available at the library and leads the library’s crochet club. Currently, the club is accepting donations of yarn to make hats and scarves for charity. It’s part of the Warmth for Winter program. Newman noted that Dukelow is very patient and has helped teach left-handed crocheters, even though she is right handed.

Other items of discussion included:
The library will host Chamber Coffee on April 13, 2017, as part of the National Library Week program.
Staff member Connie Bobbit was recognized for five years of service. Bobbit is a library administration office assistant.
The board approved the 2016 tenure incentive for staff members.
On Nov. 30, two staffers will attend a workshop in Concordia, “Crucial conversations,” and will then train library staff in methods of communicating with disgruntled or impassioned library patrons in a respectful manner that protects the interests of other library patrons. Board members requested an opportunity to benefit from the training also.
A bus trip to libraries in Topeka and Shawnee County is tentatively planned for March, and board members are invited to attend.
In an effort to ensure continuity in the face of planned retirements at the Central Kansas Library System, Willems informed the board that he may delay his own retirement planned for June, 2017, until the end of the year.

The Great Bend Public Library Board of Directors will meet again on Monday, Dec. 12 at 4:45 p.m. at the Director’s Office.