Improving access to information
More than $100,000 donated to Waupaca library
By Angie Landsverk
Recent donations to the Waupaca Area Public Library through bequests mean library officials are discussing how to best use the funds.
In the last year, the library received two $10,000 donations, said Jim Olsen, treasurer of the Waupaca Library Foundation.
Now, another donation is on its way.
That one is estimated to be between $90,000 and $100,000, according to Vance Linden, who is the president of the foundation.
On Aug. 31, members of the Waupaca Library Board met jointly with members of the Waupaca Library Foundation to talk about the donations and the library’s needs.
They did not make any decisions that evening.
Both groups will meet separately this fall before meeting jointly again on Nov. 2.
During that Nov. 2 meeting, priorities and the costs of potential projects are expected to be discussed.
The foundation, which is a nonprofit corporation, was established in 1989.
It purpose is to manage and safeguard donations given to the library and to also develop programs to promote the library’s growth and public awareness.
Foundation members stressed that the donated funds are not to go toward capital items but projects related to better service or easier public access in the library.
“None will go toward paint or carpet,” Linden said. “We don’t want the city to rely on us to do capital work.”
During the Aug. 31 meeting, Library Director Peg Burington provided information about the library’s needs.
“There are still areas where the library may need more additions to make it more modern,” she said.
The library is currently in the process of tagging all of its items, which will allow it to have self check-out stations, Burington said.
That is something library staff have been talking about for more than 10 years, she said.
“We waited because the technology was coming,” Burington said.
She said they would like to have three self check-out stations in the library: two on the main level and one in the children’s department.
She estimates the cost of each station would be about $9,000.
Also on the library’s wish list is a material handling system, which she estimates to cost between $50,000 and $75,000.
Burington said library staff currently handle library materials, and the repetitive movements result in many finger, hand and shoulder injuries.
She also said the addition of such a system would free up staff time elsewhere in the library for other work and projects.
“I always feel like we are trying to play catch up with the things needing to be done,” Burington said.
The library also wants to combine the services of its circulation and information desks into a single point.
Doing so would be convenient for library patrons, she said.
The foundation did agree to pay for the design services, and last month’s joint meeting included discussion about hiring a consultant to evaluate how library patron experiences could be enhanced.
“We have a culture of customer service at the library,” Burington said. “That is something we hope doesn’t go away.”