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Friends consider opening Carnegie in November

Organization needs volunteers, donations
By: Stephanie Dumm News Messenger Reporter
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The nonprofit Friends of the Lincoln Library is considering opening the Carnegie Library, which closed June 29, because of budget cuts. The Carnegie feasibility committee was formed by Friends of the Lincoln Library, according to previous News Messenger reports, with the date of the first meeting announced in an e-mail July 24. “This is a Friends project to see if we can keep the Carnegie open eight to 11 hours per week,” Friends of the Lincoln Library President Karen Jarrell said Monday. “We recognize that it’s something not done in a couple of weeks.” The Carnegie would be run solely by volunteers, according to Russell, and could open in November. Purchasing new books and types of insurance needed were two of the several topics discussed during the inaugural meeting Tuesday of the Friends’ Carnegie feasibility committee. Committee chairwoman Shirley Russell led the 45-minute committee at the Twelve Bridges Library. At least 15 community members and Friends of the Lincoln Library members were there. Also attending were Assistant City Manager/Chief Financial Officer Anna Jatczak and Public Works Director Mark Miller, who Russell said were there to answer legal, financial and building-related questions about the Carnegie Library. At the July 26 City Council meeting, Russell said that the two city officials were advisers. Jatczak and Miller fielded questions including how overdue library material fees would be handled, where volunteers could get paper for copy machines and how heating, cooling, electricity and phone bills could be handled. Russell handed out a timeline for the committee that included a list of items that would need to be funded, which included bathroom supplies, new books and service for patron and staff computers. The next committee meeting will be at 3 p.m. Monday. The timeline names the week of Sept. 12 as a date to propose a work plan to Friends of the Lincoln Library and the week of Oct. 10 to submit a proposal to City Council. Jarrell, who was not at Tuesday’s meeting, said the Friends are taking the time “to figure out” if there are legal, liability and facility maintenance questions, and to find out “how many people will step forward and be a dedicated volunteer.” Russell was appointed committee chairwoman by Jarrell. “I appointed Shirley as head of the committee because of her experience in 1990 working with volunteers to keep the Carnegie open and because she has the passion about Carnegie,” Jarrell said. Jarrell said volunteers will most likely work two-hour shifts. “It’s like a part-time job with all of the responsibilities and no pay,” Jarrell said. Resident Cinnamon Trimpey has been named as volunteer coordinator for Friends of the Lincoln Library. “I just fell in love with the Carnegie,” Trimpey said. “I had a passion and wanted to keep it (running).” Trimpey said she and her daughters used to visit the Carnegie every Wednesday. “It’s a different feeling there,” Trimpey said. “It’s friendly and welcoming, and everyone that went there knew each other.” Dororthy Nowak, who was volunteer coordinator and ran the Carnegie Library from 1992 to 2002, is optimistic that the Friends of the Lincoln Library can reopen the historic library. “If you find a good volunteer leader and get some volunteer workers that want to work and get their heart into it, it can happen,” Nowak said. Nowak said she had 16 volunteers and the Friends of the Lincoln Library reached out to the community for monetary donations to keep the Carnegie Library open during the ‘90s. “At first, everybody was so downhearted that it was closed and the whole town was really upset,” Nowak said. “We said the only thing we can do is work together and start a library fund together to get money together to pay the electricity bill.” Nowak said the library needs to be open for Lincoln’s children. “Our younger generation is going to be the one that’s our future. What are we going to do if we can’t train our children right?” Nowak said. “It’s to give them the information they need to go forth in the world. You don’t get it all in school and they have to refer to the library for reference when in grade school.” To volunteer to help the Carnegie library, call 434-2404 or e-mail foll@live.com.