Bertha Bartlett Public Library news

Staff Writer
Story City Herald

—by Kolleen Taylor

Even though National Library Week ended on Sunday our book sale will be continuing in celebration. As I read my column last week, I realized I gave the wrong dates so I’m going to make an executive decision that the sale will continue all month. That will make it a little easier and give everyone a chance to purchase books from our ongoing sale room at half the price!

As I was working hard to be clever with our column last week, I wrote a note to myself that the next column needs to focus more on some issues we have coming at us. So here is what is on tap.

The Bertha Bartlett Public Library has had some amazing growth in the last 10 years! From book checkouts, to attendance at programs during the school year and expansion of our summer reading programs to multiple age groups, we have seen many changes. The City has done a good job of helping us stay on top of this growth with reasonable budget increases each year to cover the extra staff time needed. The branch library in Gilbert has allowed us some breathing room as we share expenses on some things such as processing, programming, materials and databases.

Our planning for this summer’s reading programs has us all a bit stumped. With the Story City swimming pool closed and the south park also scheduled for work to be done, we are not sure exactly how many youth will join our programs this summer. We could have much higher participation. Last year we had nearly 250 youth sign up in Story City and over 150 in Gilbert! We are proud to say the planning is mostly done and now our time is needed to develop, locate and create specific materials and volunteers for activities and projects. The library has an extensive list of items on a wish list that can be donated but there are a lot of items still needed in the quantity necessary.

So last week a number of our area businesses received a letter from us which included a list of the various activities we are planning for the summer of 2016. We are asking for sponsorship of some of the items we are building for the Tween and Teen events which will allow us to purchase the components that are not donated. This ranges from lumber to create oversized games, to food used as part of the activities, and snacks to keep our youth healthy and engaged. Some of the activities will involve scavenger hunts throughout the community, and the physical activity also means replenishment of fluids and food.

It’s a tough challenge to keep our Story City youth interested and involved, but we have the team that has managed to do this. Both the Library Foundation and the Board of Trustees are very supportive of the activities, but they also know that we have some major expenses coming at us in other areas. So we are working hard to keep our expenses in line with the budget and seek most of our “extras” from personal donations.

We don’t do an annual fundraiser or mailing to every household asking for money each and every year. If you have an interest in helping the library fund their special activities during the summer, we would be happy for the support. Any donations to the Bertha Bartlett Public Library Foundation can be deducted as a charitable expense. The library can accept donations at any time, but if you want to help make the summer program more successful, stop in the library, ask for a copy of our sponsorship needs or our wish list. We’ll be glad for help from anyone willing to get involved!