At the April 24 board meeting, the Sugar Grove Public Library Board voted to increase fees for the use of the meeting rooms in the library for all groups. This has already generated a clamor in the community.
The board is working on a budget that will maintain current hours, but the only areas that can be cut further are underused materials and programs. The building must be kept in good repair, heated, cooled and have the snow and ice removed in the winter, and the grass cut in the summer.
All of these costs come out of the operating budget, and as those costs increase, less money is left for the books, movies, materials and programs that many people regard as the primary purpose of the library. When groups use the meeting room, staff time is used to arrange the appropriate furniture and technology, and provide additional cleaning if needed.
On March 18, the library district asked voters to increase the library's operating tax rate. It was resoundingly defeated; even library users and supporters did not vote for it.
The library is well used. Fifty-five percent of residents in the district have a library card, and 13,295 items were checked out in March. Even if we close the doors and turn off the lights, the taxpayers are obligated for the next 10 years to repay the bonds issued to build the library.
The next board meeting is at 6 p.m. May 22. The public is welcome to attend and suggest ways to solve the financial problems at the library. As building maintenance issues arise, more material and service cuts are possible. Right now, it is a choice between books and light bulbs, because you can't have both.
Treasurer and trustee
Sugar Grove Public Library