Library raising money for after-school program

At left, library board member Tyler Witges makes a comment during Monday's meeting. Seated next to him is Jim Arndt, who is looking over the agenda on his phone. Arndt served his last meeting on the board, as he will be leaving Effingham to take a position as city manager in Paducah, Kentucky, in coming days. Arndt served on the board for 7 1/2 years.

EFFINGHAM — The Effingham public library board agreed to start a campaign to raise money for a structured “After School” program for students 10 years old through junior high.

The board met at the Suzette Brumleve Memorial Effingham Public Library on Monday.

Library Director Amanda McKay estimated the four-day-a-week program would run from 3 to 6 p.m. for 40 weeks. The program would allow children to arrive at varying times, depending on when school is dismissed. The program would give students a block of time to study, but the program would not include tutoring time.

“We have a lot of kids who are already here and this would give them a little bit more structure,” said McKay.

Board member Jim Arndt said it would offer young people a safe place to be.

Once implemented, the first year of the program is expected to cost $21,720.

The bulk of the expense would be to pay for two staff members. Other expenses would be supplies and snacks during the school year. The staff would also be utilized during the Summer Read program, after school is out.

The library is using its annual "end of the year" campaign to fund the program.

The fundraising campaign could include a mailed letter and postings on social media. It was a practice held in years past, but most recently the campaigns were solely for the building renovation at the current library, at 200 N. Third Street.

Last year's annual campaign raised $60,000, which was geared primarily for landscaping work at the new library. From that campaign, $25,000 went to landscaping, plus work on the building and paying off the debt.

“We would want some of that money to go towards paying on the debt of the building, but we also want something more tangible for the public as well,” said McKay.

In related business, the board heard that the revamped Summer Read Program is skyrocketing, with this year's theme: "Reading Takes You Everywhere."

“We've got a 49 percent increase,” said McKay. “Last year we had 847 sign up, and this year, currently 1,264 are signed up."

She added that at the kickoff party last year, the library hosted 175 young people, and in comparison, 474 came this year. Young readers were on all three levels of the library and outside for that event.

“In the month of May, we saw more teens at programs than we saw all of last year,” said McKay. She credited the new programming being used this year for the growth.

In other matters, the board:

• Announced Jim Arndt, who is also Effingham City administrator, served his final meeting on the board. His seat will be filled by the next city administrator, as it is a “city liaison” seat. Until then, it will remain vacant. Arndt said he volunteered to serve on the library board 7 1/2 years ago. He will be leaving Effingham to take a similar position in Paducah, Kentucky.

• Approved the prevailing wage ordinance that states the library will use prevailing wage as approved for Effingham County.

• Approved the building and maintenance levy ordinance in the amount of about $50,000, which is a .02 percent tax on all taxable property. The amount of the levy changes depending on the local EAV each year. Funds collected can only be used for maintenance of the building, said McKay.

• Approved the Fiscal Year 2018 Illinois Public Library Annual Report, which is required by all public libraries in Illinois by the Secretary of State.

• Discussed the idea to install security cameras, but decided not to act on that measure at this time.

Contact Dawn Schabbing at dawn.schabbing@effinghamdailynews.com or 217-347-7151, ext 138.

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