The Saratoga Sun -

A little help from Friends

Concerned citizens aim to take Library matters into their own hands

 


A group of concerned citizens of Encampment and Riverside met Thursday to discuss a community approach to keeping hours at the Encampment-Riverside library in the wake of massive budget cuts to the county library system.

Amidst a library system in turmoil, rocked by massive proposed budget cuts and multiple resignations of key figures, the citizens met to discuss forming a 501(c)(3) non-profit Friends of the Library organization that would raise funds for the Encampment-Riverside Branch of the Carbon County Public Library (CCPL) to keep the two towns’ library open.

Earlier this month after the Carbon County Board of Commissioner’s announced budget cuts to the system that would have seen loss of hours at some satellite library branches, the councils of the towns of Riverside and Encampment pledged $500 and $1,250 respectively toward keeping the library open without any cuts in service hours. Both boards pledged the money as long as there was an assurance by the CCPL system that money donated by the towns would be used only to support the Encampment-Riverside branch of the library rather than being used for the general fund.

The money would be donated to a non-profit group dedicated to the support of the library the towns’ councils said, once such a group was formed and the CCLB had agreed to only use the finds for the Encampment branch.

A group of citizens met at the library to discuss the formation of the friends of the library group, and began charting a course for the establishment of the group. Work began by discussing the formation of the board of directors for the group.

“We’re all very busy,” Jana Cor, an organizer of the meeting, told the assembled group. “But we all love our library and we all need it.” The group did not name a full complement of board members at Thursday’s meeting but agreed that those in attendance would ask around town to find people with the time to serve as board members.

The group also discussed getting a guarantee from the CCLSB that the funding raised and donated by the group would be used only for the Encampment-Riverside branch of the library, saying it would not be useful to proceed with the formation of the group without such a guarantee.

“People are not going to give (money) until they have that reassurance,” Doreen Harvey, Encampment town clerk told the assembled group.

“Because they’re government, we don’t trust them,” Cor said. “I’m going to say we need it in writing. I don’t want my money that I’m donating to go over to Rawlins or some other place that I’m not going.”

“We are going to find out before we go any further with money,” Cor said.

The group also discussed fundraising strategies to supplement the funding promised by the towns of Riverside and Encampment. The group discussed setting up a vending booth at school events, and discussed ideas for fundraising that would not directly compete with other fundraising booths at the events.

The group also discussed strategies for saving money at the branch library in order to reduce costs.

The members of the group adjourned the meeting after a short time, saying that they would meet again Monday evening at the library to further discuss formation of the friends of the library group.

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