Meeting: Dubois County Contractual Library

The Dubois County Contractual Library Board met Thursday and:

• Heard an update on operations at the Dubois Branch from Branch Manager Anita Murphy. The library-to-go service has been going well with a lot of use since it began in May. Monthly take-and-make craft kits have also been popular. Weekly video programs, such as claymation stories, music videos, story times and craft videos, are also being posted to the branch's Facebook page.

• Murphy discussed the importance of the library's Wi-Fi for the northeast part of the county as cell service and internet connection is not available throughout the area. Murphy said she wants to be part of a push to get better connectivity to the area. Anyone who can help can contact her by phone at 812-678-2548.

• Heard that the Dubois Branch won a $1,000 Advancing Racial Equity Collection Development Grant from Indiana Humanities to help the library expand its collection of materials about racial equity. The grant will allow the library to purchase multiple copies of several books that will be used in book clubs and other programs to facilitate conversations about racial equity in local communities.

• Heard that the Dubois Branch received a $500 donation to cover the cost of lost books that children lost during the COVID-19 shutdown.

• Reviewed the bylaws. The state requires the library to review its bylaws every three years. The board will approve the bylaws at the September meeting, set for Thursday, Sept. 10. The Jasper Public Library Board did the same.

• Approved the Dubois County Council as the fiscal body for the contractual library, as required by state law. As the fiscal body, the county council reviews the library's budget annually.

• Approved a resolution to be part of the Indiana State Library Consortium for Public Library Internet Access that helps the library cover the cost of internet services for the libraries. The Jasper board did the same.

• Discussed the proposed 2021 budget. The total proposed budget is $1,300,254 and covers the Birdseye, Dubois and Ferdinand branches. The total property tax levy — which includes the operating and debt service budgets — is $915,958. The proposal is about $54,000 less than the 2020 budget and reflects efforts to tighten the budget in anticipation of lower revenues in 2022 due to the economic effects of COVID-19. The board will hold a budget hearing at the September meeting with approval set for October.

• Heard that a total of 596 participants completed the Summer Learning program, about half as many as last year. The drop is attributed to the closures and altered services due to COVID-19.

• Heard that digital library access cards were sent to schools in the library's coverage area. The cards give all students and teachers access to the library's digital resources.

• Heard that the Birdseye Branch will be expanding hours to be 2 to 7 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays.

• Heard that the renovation project at the Ferdinand Branch is on hold due to COVID-19. The plan to renovate to have a smaller computer lab is not practical with the current social distancing guidelines.

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