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Library closing the gap on budget deficit
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Great Bend Public Library Director Harry Willems told his board of directors Monday that efforts to reduce spending are paying off.
In July, with half of 2015 in the books, Willems reported the library had used over 60 percent of its budget. To get things back on track, he asked all of the department heads to cut $3,000 in spending.
At Monday’s board meeting, Willems reported, “We’re still making progress is closing the gap. ... We’ll have it closed by the end of the year.”
At the end of August, with 67 percent of the year completed, and the library had spent 81 percent of its budget. However, some recent personnel changes will save the library $13,000 through the end of the year.
“It looks like we’ll land on our feet with this one,” he said. “In my estimation the budget is sound again.”
The board received a copy of a letter from Willems, announcing his plan to retire in April 2016. He is also director of the Central Kansas Library System, located in the basement of the library. In fact, more than half of his time is spent on administrative duties for the regional service. CKLS supports library services in 17 counties, covering 13,988 square miles with a total population of 187,750. Counties served include: Barton, Cloud, Ellis, Ellsworth, Jewell, Lincoln, Mitchell, Osborne, Ottawa, Pawnee, Phillips, Republic, Rooks, Rush, Russell, Saline, and Smith.
CKLS has its own board of directors, and members from both boards will be on a selection committee for Willems’ replacement. He shared a proposed time line, ad and job description with the board.

Argonne Rebels exhibit, board opening

Young Adult and Marketing Librarian Diedre Mapes told the board that the Argonne Rebels exhibit has been taken down and stored, but its designers are planning a smaller permanent display for the library.
Mapes also reported that the library website ( has been redone.
In other news, the annual used book sale will be Oct. 11-14, with Friends of the Library invited to an early sale on Oct. 10.
It was also noted Monday that there is a vacancy on the GBPL Board of Directors. Anyone interested serving is welcome to request an application for the non-paying position at the Great Bend City Office.