Aug. 2 ballot may save St. Johns library

Posted at 1:35 PM, Aug 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-02 13:35:10-04

Briggs District Library in St. Johns is facing possible staff reductions, reduced daily hours, and elimination of programs due to a lack of funding. 

To close gaps in the financial budget, the library is requesting a .75 mill increase for 10 years on the Aug. 2 voter’s ballot for residents of St. Johns, Bingham Township, and some of Greenbush, Olive, Essex, Riley, Bengal, Victor and Westphalia townships.

The new millage would generate 77 percent of the library’s total operating budget. The remaining funds would be covered by state government aid, penal fines, library fines and fees.

The library has lost over $100,000 in their operating budget from the economy fall in 2008 and is struggling to meet the needs of the community. Residents of St. Johns and surrounding townships have been requesting longer hours of operation, more programs for various ages, an increased print and digital collection, and greater facility upkeep.

“The biggest change patrons have commented on is the fact that we cannot afford to purchase multiple copies of popular titles, which leads to long hold lists and wait times. Though our e-books and programming have not necessarily decreased, we haven’t had the opportunity to expand and meet the needs of the community either,” says Library Director Sara Morrison.

Without the proposed millage, the library will hold a meeting on August 4 to discuss budget cuts that may include losing up to 19 hours of operation per week, face a reduction in staffing, and cutting programs –all that would be implemented by early September, 2016.

Allison Navarra, marketing coordinator of King Media said that the annual cost for some residents under the new millage would be equivalent to purchasing two or three new books per year.

Near 15,000 voters will see this millage proposal on the Aug. 2 ballot.