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11. the District's Future

11. the District's Future

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Published by econnelltimberland

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Published by: econnelltimberland on Jul 07, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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05/12/2014

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92
.J
The District'sFuture
The Timberland
Regional Library has reached a point in its
development where fiscal constraints have begun restricting
its
ability to improve and expand public services.
In fact, the·
district may find by year's end it currently is unable to support
all programs now in place.
Fortunately,
the District Board of
Trustees and Administrative
staff have been aware of potential
I
funding difficulties
since the beginning of this decade.
The Board
and staff have developed a Planning Task Force to examine library
)
service in Timberland
and both groups are prepared to initiate a
review of the District's
structure.
The charge of the Planning Task Force, which includes Board
members, Professional
staff, and non-professional
staff, is
multi-faceted.
The group is to gather information about the
library District and its participating
communities.
This i.ncludes
compiling demographic
data such as the number of young children,
teenagers, and senior citizens in the Timberland
service area;
educational
and occupational
characteristics
of the population;
literacy rates; and population
density changes.
The Task Force
must also identify other cultural and i.nformation resources that
complement or supplement
district library services.
In addition to gathering data about population
)
93
characteristics
of the Timberland
service area, the Planning Task
Force must complete a survey of library users and non-users.
This
will help district decision makers to understand
the library
oriented wants and needs of the Timberland
community.
The information
about the Timberland
Service area will
require careful analysis.
This analysis should be complimented
by
a complete study of the District's
physical facilities.
The Task
Force then can develop a description
of library services and the
means by which they currently are made available to the public.
Once the Planning Task Force has completed its field work,
it must prepare for the Timberland
Board of Trustees a statement of
the purpose of the library district, proposed goals and objectives,
and strategies
for achieving
these objectives.
The accomplishment
of the first stage of the planning
process from the research stage, through the recommendations
of the
Planning Task Force to Timberland
Board, to Board action on those
recommendations,
should prepare District decision makers for the
further task of examining issues relating to Timberland's
structure
and governance.
At the time of Timberland's
formation, libraries
in contract
cities provided the immediate physical means for the newly formed
district to make service available to its residents.
The cities
that cooperated with Timberland
certainly recognized
the benefit of
joining the district and probably did not findit necessary
to have
complicated
contracts that clearly defined their rights and
)
94
responsibilities.
However, over the years there developed numerous
questions about building maintenance
and operating costs.
Many
contract cities began to feel that Timberland should share the cost
of operating physical facilities.
The District successfully
avoided providing building support but in many cases the fa~ilities
suffered by being only marginally maintained.
Timberland officials should recognize that more carefully
written contracts must be developed in order to avoid serious
facilities maintenance
arguments in the future.
The District must
work with member cities in establishing
comprehensive
contract
language relative to library buildings and building support.
This
may require that Timberland agree to some some level of financial
)
participation
in the future.
However, as long as the relationship
between the cities and Timberland is merely contractual,
and
mechanisms
exist for cities to withdraw from the district, such
direct support is unlikely.
Another concern of contracting cities is the formula used
for establishing
annual city contract fees.
This is an issue that
should be discussed with representatives
from the seven cities that
have not annexed to Timberland.
It is apparent that many city
officials do not understand
the District's
contract fee formula;
others understand the formula but resent Timberland's
requirement
that it be universally
applied.
The Timberland Board would do well
to review all possible city contract fee alternatives
in order to
)
avoid discontinuing
services to a city unable to pay its required

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