Dunsmuir community responds to library crisis

Ami Ridling

The Dunsmuir community is actively working to prevent   the anticipated June 23rd library branch closure. The city council, city manager Jim Lindley, members of the Dunsmuir Friends of the Library, and other area residents are busy devising a plan to maintain library services.

The rescue mission began immediately after the June 1st county board of supervisors meeting where the board members discussed the possibility of eliminating funding to seven library branches – including Dunsmuir’s.

County interim library director Lisa Musgrove contacted the branches the following day to notify employees that the computer equipment and other county-owned supplies will likely be collected from the seven branches immediately after the June 22nd county budget hearing.

Dunsmuir Friends of the Library members are currently raising money to keep the library operational during the next year to allow time to identify permanent funding sources apart from county assistance, said Dunsmuir Friends acting president Elsie Tillotson.

“The Dunsmuir community has rallied to save their library,” stated county supervisor Ed Valenzuela. He noted that as long as the library’s basic operating costs are covered by either donations or city funding, he is confident that the county will not remove the library equipment after the budget hearing.

Musgrove said that the current Dunsmuir branch operations cost $15,000 per year.

According to Dunsmuir’s branch assistant Karen O’Quinn the annual cost includes computer and internet services, the book check-out system, utilities, employee wages, office supplies, basic subscriptions, and administrative overhead.

“Closing our library is unacceptable to me. It is an essential facility for learning, research, computer access, and simple enjoyment of life in our small town. I consider it an essential facility for seniors, children, and low-income citizens of all ages,” said Mayor Peter Arth.

The city council voted in March to approve an end-of-the-year General Fund appropriation of $11,650 for the exterior painting of the library branch.

“It is ironic that the city just appropriated money to repaint our library, and now the county threatens to close its doors? For shame!” said Arth.

Those wishing to donate money to help keep the Dunsmuir library afloat may call 235-2035.

The Dunsmuir library branch is open Tuesdays from 1 to 6 p.m., Wednesdays from 1 to 8 p.m., Thursdays from 1 to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.