[dfads params='groups=4969&limit=1&orderby=random']

Commission to Bookmobile supporters: Go ask the schools to help with funding

By Rick Sherman
Sun Advocate Reporter

At Wednesday’s regular Carbon County Commission meeting, a Bruin Point Elementary School fifth grader presented a petition with more than 1,000 signatures supporting the Bookmobile, four mayors in Carbon County spoke in favor of the service and a representative of the Utah State Library Division presented a proposal to limit the number of stops the Carbon County Bookmobile makes, thereby reducing the contribution the county makes for the service.
The commission meeting room was packed with Bookmobile supporters, including patrons, local library workers and friends of libraries, and local elected officials. There was spontaneous applause when 10-year old October Hamilton of East Carbon stepped up to the podium in the room full of adults and presented her petition to the commissioners. “I just wanted to tell you guys that the Bookmobile is something that we need,” she stated.
Commissioners voted during the meeting of June 7 to discontinue the Bookmobile contract with the state and save the county’s contribution of nearly $100,000 each year for the service. That prompted the 10-year old’s petition drive which started in East Carbon and then moved to Price, and is also available online.
Commissioners have been in a budget-cutting mode for several months because of a dramatic reduction in mineral lease monies the county receives. “What are we willing to pay for?” That question was repeated by Commissioner Jae Potter in the discussion to emphasize the limited amount of revenue available.
Potter noted that because of the decreasing revenue, the County had to take more than $6 million from surplus funds to balance the budget last January. Subsequently, that amount was systematically cut down to $2.8 million during a series of public meetings on the budget. Bookmobile Program Director for the State of Utah Britton Lund said the Carbon County Bookmobile has continued to grow over the years, with both circulation and the number of patrons continuing to rise. Ms. Lund outlined a plan to reduce the cost from $99,800 to $61,000 by cutting hours, making fewer and less frequent stops, consolidating stops, and purchasing fewer books and devices. The state subsidy would be approximately $20,000.
Lund said it’s too late in the budgeting process to turn to the legislature for increased funding.
Commissioners expressed frustration that the county is unduly burdened with the cost because cities and towns, and the school district all benefit from the Bookmobile, but make no contribution toward funding the service. The Commissioners also indicated they were adverse to funding an enterprise year after year and having nothing to show for it.
Commissioner Potter said, “I would hate to, in the name of the budget to see something like this go away but at the same time, we cannot live on borrowed time.” He noted that the school district is a big collector of taxes in the county, and many students benefit from the Bookmobile. He asked, “Where’s the School District in this? Where is the support for literacy in our schools?”
Commissioner Casey Hopes also focused on the school district, noting that of the 2,865 Carbon County Bookmobile patrons in 2016, 2,225 were directly tied to the schools. He wondered, “Is it time we start building a library system within our community- something that we in the end, own and can build upon?”
Commission Chairman Jake Mellor summed up, “A decision doesn’t need to be made today. We’re all here to have a discussion with our elected representatives as well as the bookmobile representatives, to discuss what options are available and then make a decision in the future. We have not made any decision at this time.
Mellor commended October for participating in the system and bringing everyone together for the discussion. He encouraged her to take her petition to the schools and, “ask them if they would help pay for it, help be a part of the solution. I bet they would.”
“This is not the end of the discussion,” he continued. “We want more ideas, we want more solutions.”

[dfads params='groups=1745&limit=1&orderby=random']
scroll to top