The Kitchigami Regional Library System (KRLS) Board decided Thursday, Sept. 19, that it will provide Crosslake and Pequot Lakes libraries with $5,000 in materials funding in 2014.
It decided the funding will come from the Crow Wing County development fund, which is money the board had been saving for the creation of a future branch library in the county.
The board also decided the cost of transferring KRLS books to and from the Pequot and Crosslake libraries (interlibrary loan) will also be taken from the same development fund. Formerly those funds had come from outreach funding.
In total, $20,379 will come from the development fund, which, before any spending, has a balance of just under $300,000.
By taking the money from the reserve fund, KRLS board chair Neal Gaalswyk said the Crow Wing County Board will be more motivated to decide whether or not it wants another branch library in Crow Wing County.
“I guess if we send this (budget plan) back, it will bring back the urgency of that discussion,” Gaalswyk said.
The Pequot and Crosslake libraries operate as affiliate libraries to the KRLS system, and are not branch libraries. While discussions have taken place between KRLS and the Pequot and Crosslake libraries regarding whether or not the libraries should become branch libraries, no final decisions have been made.
Gaalswyk said that by taking both Pequot Lakes and Crosslake materials funding and interlibrary loan funding from the development fund, the fund would be spent down quicker.
He said he believes the cost of opening a new branch will be more than $300,000, and that the cost will likely grow as time goes on.
“My sense of this is that we’re driving this discussion back into Crow Wing County and (saying), we’re looking for you to hash this out,” Gaalswyk said.
The Crow Wing County Board decreased KRLS’ funding for 2014 at its Sept. 10 meeting. KRLS requested $535,221, but the county budgeted $509,127.
Due to the cut in county funding, KRLS decided to cut six hours to the Brainerd library’s operating hours and will cut $5,000 in outreach services, in addition to the changes in Crosslake and Pequot Lakes library funding.
KRLS director Marian Ridge said by email that the outreach services cut will be in the form of finding a way to combine the Nisswa mobile library stop on the same route as the other Crow Wing County stops, and finding another location and time for the stop in 2014.
Rachel Reabe Nystrom, KRLS board member and Crow Wing County Board member, said the switch in funding the board chose was the option that had the least effect on the Brainerd library, which is the only KRLS branch library in Crow Wing County.
Gaalswyk said the funding Crow Wing County allocated to KRLS for 2014 is the same amount of funding KRLS received from the county in 2007.
The decision to fund Pequot Lakes and Crosslake libraries from the development fund, and to make the other changes due to the drop in county funding, passed on a 10-2 vote. The board consists of members representing cities and counties throughout the KRLS system. Board members Gillette Kempf, of Wadena, and Wayne LaDuke, of Cass Lake, voted against the measure.
Kate Perkins can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Facebook and on Twitter @KateAtEcho.