2016-09-22 / Life in Leelanau

Libraries to step up programs

By Amy Hubbell
Of The Enterprise staff

SUZANNE ROGERS, assistant librarian at the Suttons Bay- Bingham District Library, welcomed patrons to expanded hours at the library Monday. SUZANNE ROGERS, assistant librarian at the Suttons Bay- Bingham District Library, welcomed patrons to expanded hours at the library Monday. Three county library boards are working to put into action plans voters supported in the Aug. 2 election.

Immediately following passage of the half-mill levy, Suttons Bay librarian Ryan Deery resigned to accept a position with the Allegan District Library downstate.

So, the Suttons Bay-Bingham Library board has been busy since working to find a new director.

Fifteen candidates responded to the call for applicants. Four are scheduled for interviews Friday and Saturday.

“We have several excellent candidates,” assistant librarian Suzanne Rogers said.

The 0.5-mill replaces the 0.3 mills each of the townships pulled from its own coffers to support the library. Now the library will support itself and revenue will be used to expand hours of operation.

The library is now open Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The library was previously closed on Mondays.

No other schedule change have been made at the library, which is also open Thursday from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.; Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The library is closed Sundays.

Supporters of the millage cited the need for maintenance of the 30-year-old facility. However, this subject is on the back burner until a new librarian is on board.

“No others changes have been made,” Rogers said.

Voters in Leland Township approved a first-ever millage, an 8-year, .4-mill tax, that is expected to generate $168,000 when collected in December.

Approval gave the township library independent status in the eyes of the state.

Since the Aug. 2 voter approval representatives of the township and library officials have been meeting to take the next steps toward official autonomy for the library.

The Leland Township Board appointed a provisional library board that includes Bret Crimmins, Berkley Duck, Laurie Leppink Lisuk, Georgia Rivers, Powell Smith and Robert Soutas-Little.

Earlier this month the Township Board approved a draft version of an intergovernmental agreement for library management.

Under the agreement, now under review by the provisional board, the township is responsible for maintaining the grounds and retaining wall at the facility, which includes the library, the Munnecke Room and the Leelanau Historical Museum.

The proposed agreement also calls for the new library board to be responsible for interior space now in its use; the Leelanau Historical Society, the museum space and the township, the Munnecke Room.

”We’re working on our response to the township’s draft agreement and anticipate a Dec. 31 hand-off from the township to the new board,” library board president Berkley Duck said.

The provisional board is also working on the adoption of bylaws.

Voters in Empire, Kasson and Glen Arbor townships approved a 5-year levy of .28 mills for the Glen Lake Community Library, 832-200.

The 5-year millage replaces a quarter-mill levy approved for 20 years in 1996. The millage rate had decreased to .1901 mills by last year due to the Headlee Amendment to the state Constitution.

The property tax ended in December 2015, providing only enough funds for the library to continue operating through the end of this calendar year.

Funds generated by the levy, estimated at $197,084 in its first year, will allow the board to support existing services; public access computers in Maple City and Glen Arbor, and programs for kids and adults throughout the year.

“Passing the millage ensures that we’ll have adequate income to maintain our current services,” library director David Diller said. “We can feel secure knowing that our collections and public outreach with computers in Maple City and Glen Arbor can continue.”

Thinking longterm, library board members are looking at possible expansion of the library on Front St.

“It’s not immediately on the horizon,” Diller said. “But we’ll be discussing it as part of our strategic planning.”

The front half of the facility, located on Front Street, served as the local fire hall. In the early 1980s the library moved in and in 1996 an addition was built on.

In 2013, the library purchased a private lot immediately east of the library and razed a home on the lot in 2014. The purchase gives the library room to grow in the future.

In Leelanau Township, there was no library-related issue on the August ballot. (See related story.)

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