King Simpson, director of the Logan County Public Library, attended Tuesday’s fiscal court meeting to present the library’s 2014-2015 budget. The library is a taxing district, and although the court has no authority over library decisions, administrators bring the budget to the magistrates each year for acknowledgment, which they did Tuesday.
Simpson is serving his first year as director, having taken over for Linda Kompanik who passed away in August of last year. Kompanik was one of the main driving forces behind the new library’s construction, unfortunately, she passed away before its official opening.
Simpson gave a brief overview Tuesday on progress of the new library located on Armory Drive in Russellville. The library moved from 6th Street to its new location the first of February this year.
According to statistics Simpson has been tracking, there have been 50,000 people to walk through the new library doors over the past four and a half months. There have also been 928 new library cards given out, which now accounts for 61 percent of Logan County residents who own a library card. This is way over the average percentage.
Simpson added the library has been hosting it’s annual Summer Reading program, which is servicing 352 kids. This is up from last year’s 304. The library has given out 1,165 free sack lunches to kids over the summer so far and has 1,409 enrolled in the programs.
The library budget isn’t seeing many changes from last year, reported Simpson. There is an increase in operation costs simply due to the size of the new facility, however, there is no change in current salaries/wages or the materials budget. Simpson reported the addition of an adult program coordinator and possibly a few more positions. The new library utilities are under budget, said Simpson, knowing that was what some were concerned about when the new library was built. He said he did put in a 12 percent increase for the upcoming year for some fluctuating room. The library board has increased it’s contingency fund because the body wants to have at least six months of expenses in the bank.
Magistrate Jo Orange, who was against building the new library because she didn’t think the community needed one and because of her concern taxes may be raised by the board to support the project, complimented Simpson Tuesday for keeping the taxes down despite increasing some spending.