It has been brought to our attention this article concerning the Maryville Public Library’s need for additional revenue in the January 19 edition of the Nodaway News Leader was not clear about the library as a government entity.
The library’s funding is separate from the annual city appropriations, and in fact, the library building is owned by the library board of trustees, not the city. However, the library is not a privately owned entity, as stated in the article; it belongs to the taxpayers of the city. The board serves as representatives of the taxpayers. The facility and all of its services are to be used by the city’s citizenry.
The Maryville Public Library is placing a question on the April ballot asking Maryville citizens to support the library by raising its tax by 12¢, for a total of 28¢ per $100 of assessed value, in hopes of being able to stay open.
The increased revenue would generate $150,000 worth of funds to be used solely for the benefit of Maryville citizens. The funds would not be used to support programs throughout the county.
The library is privately owned, (see above clarification), meaning it does not receive funds from the City of Maryville. Its tax, combined with its fundraising efforts, pays for all of its operating expenses as well as maintenance on its historical building.
The last time the library asked voters for a tax increase was in 1962. Since then, the building has been expanded and costs have continued to rise, yet its budget has not increased to supply its demands.
“The Maryville Public Library, in the last few years, has made a lot of progress in family literacy, but we haven’t been successful at funding ourselves. This proposal is an urgent attempt to sustain the progress we have made. We don’t want to lose ground,” Maryville Public Library Director Stephanie Patterson stated.
Patterson said the library recently had to tap into its reserves, which are down to 30 percent, in order to repair the building’s leaking roof. There have not been enough funds available to invest in programs and materials, such as staff training and digital tools like newspaper archives and book selection tools, to keep the library up to date.
If the tax passes, Patterson plans to hire a part-time bookkeeper so she will be free to write and apply for more grants, thereby increasing the library’s funding even more. She plans to update the adult book collection and increase digital resources and supplies. Patterson would also like to hire a full-time education professional who would coordinate children’s programming and create a partnership with Maryville schools.
The library currently offers services to a variety of patrons of all ages. Infants and children attend programs, while adults use the library’s internet for job training and certification testing and its gathering spaces for meetings and study sessions.