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Friends serious about raising funds

Public Dec. 7 meeting will share ways to earn money ‘out of the box’
By: Stephanie Dumm News Messenger Reporter
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Library staff and volunteers are looking for creative solutions to the library’s budget problems to present during a Dec. 7 Friends of the Lincoln Library meeting. The library, like the three other General Fund departments (police, fire and recreation), will be forced to make budget reductions to help close the projected $2.4 million deficit in the General Fund, according to City Council discussion the last few months. The Dec. 7 meeting will “discuss the future of the library without Measure K,” according to a Nov. 3 e-mail sent by Lincoln library director Darla Wegener. Measure K, a temporary utility users’ tax placed on the Nov. 2 ballot by City Council this summer, would have provided revenue for the General Fund for four years if it had passed. Measure K failed to pass, with 66 percent of voters voting no for the tax. The library operating budget this year is $835,512, according to Wegener. She said Oct. 26 that closing the Twelve Bridges Library would save the General Fund $440,000, and closing the Carnegie Library would save the fund $250,000. Both Wegener and Friends of the Lincoln Library members are preparing fundraising ideas for the Dec. 7 public meeting, which will be at 2 p.m. at the Twelve Bridges Library. “Right now, I’m trying to research different ways to raise funds, including looking at not just traditional fundraising but any creative ideas we can come up with,” Wegener said. Some ideas include a car show to benefit the library and a chance to meet an author, where attendees would “pay for the privilege to meet with authors.” “I want to look outside of the box because maybe there’s something we haven’t tapped yet that can be successful,” Wegener said. “Right now, we are looking at short-term goals to keep the library open.” Wegener expressed gratitude toward the Friends of the Lincoln Library for both helping raise funding for library programs and “by being at the library, talking to us and telling us that we’re doing a good job.” “People are a little more serious and more anxious because they don’t know what will happen next,” Wegener said when asked how morale at both libraries has been since Election Day on Nov. 2. “We are still at the beginning of the process to prepare for next year’s budget and then I can start preparing the library’s budget.” Karen Jarrel, Friends of the Lincoln Library president, said the Dec. 7 meeting will be open to the public and “be a place for fundraising ideas to be shared.” Other information given during the meeting includes “definition as to what the legal problems are with closing the Twelve Bridges Library and what is the difference between a public and private library.” The Friends of the Lincoln Library will request information from the city regarding the legal implications of closing the library and budget numbers “as to what it would cost for the Carnegie and Twelve Bridges as currently operating,” according to Jarrell. The city can do more to save the libraries by providing budget information for the libraries, according to Jarrell. “Once they get the figures together and allow people to see the exact cost of maintaining both libraries, they’ll find ways together with the community to fund the library,” Jarrell said. “We need the cost and those expense figures to know what are the best options to take.” She said the community will play a role in the libraries future, too. “It all revolves around money, unfortunately, but revolves around people too. The citizens of this town have to come together again as they did earlier in the year to let the City Council know we need both libraries open,” Jarrell said. “I’m sure you’re going to see letters to the editor, and see individuals speaking at City Council meetings, talking about the importance of the libraries.”