-By Mandi Fu
Time after this August must be the rising days of DeWitt District Library – they have solved the budget problem in August and are able to do new things for the library.
During the first half of this year, DeWitt District Library only had a budget for 1.5 million, which is under the average 1.6 million for a library. This had caused a great panic for the whole library. But the request for more money in August saved the library from breakdown.
“And that gives us an extra $319,000 a year”, said the library director Jennifer Balcom.
Now, DeWitt District Library is able to extend their opening hours for another 10 hours a week and add three more story times for their waiting lists.
One new material that the library adds recently is called “Discovery Pack”. They are basically purple backpacks that contain themed books, a DVD or CD, an education toy and a sheet of rhymes, songs, finger plays and extension activities for children and their caregivers to enjoy together. These themed backpacks are picked out by the Youth Serviced librarian Mindy Schafer, which contain “123 Count With Me”, “Digging Up Dinosaurs”, “Pretty Princesses”, “Creepy Crawlies” and so on. Schafer says that they are a great way to extend the story sharing experience with a young child.
“This is something we’ve been wanting to do for a long time but hadn’t be able to forward to. But now because we have more money (for that) and they are popular”, said Balcom.
Caregivers can check out these backpacks for free and there is also a shorter check out period of 7 days.
People who come to the library are satisfied by services from DeWitt District Library.
Amanda Carpenter, a mother with 2 kids, said that she likes the new hours and new programs, especially more story times. “I like that they add socialization for the kids and the parents. And then I like that there is activities in addition to the reading”, she said.
Rebecca Corr, who lived in DeWitt for 15 years, said that she benefit from the library a lot. Although Corr also mentioned that she couldn’t tell any difference than before the millage, she will put anything related to the library in her priority.
One primary problem for DeWitt District Library right now is extending their area. Right now, it only has 6,400 square feet for library materials while the average size of a public library is much bigger than that. Balcom said that this problem would not be solved in a while because people are afraid of more tax from constructing on a new place.
Another problem for the library is how to serve more members better from their materials and programs. Balcom mentioned that although the libraries of 3 nearby schools do have libraries, they may not have as much materials as the public library has and they closed for evenings and summers, which caused majorities come to DeWitt District Library with more needs.