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For Whitman County Library, 2018 has been a year of feast or famine

Daily News column for Saturday, July 14, 2018 by Library Director Kristie Kirkpatrick

The feast has come in the form of people, lots and lots of people. Residents of all ages are coming out in droves to attend programs and events, learn and use technology, browse art and history exhibits, read, use Wi-Fi, socialize and borrow all kinds of stuff.

The library’s famine came in the form of lower than anticipated basic operating revenues, causing severe belt tightening on our part. The library froze all wages and slashed materials and training budgets. Our top priority was preserving the library’s open hours, which we proudly achieved.

Thankfully, 2019 should be a better year for us. County residents voted to restore our normal tax levy rate for which we are so humbled. Our dedicated staff and Board gives its all in public service so the vote of confidence is very meaningful to us all.

Also appreciated are the Friends of the Library along with many donors and grant funders. The Friends and Summer Reading supporters stepped up to plug our most dire funding gaps while donors and grant funders actually helped us to expand and improve The Center and our Technology equipment and training programs.

Each month, the Library honors these very important people. In a year like 2018, the presentations have taken on a deeper meaning for us all. Just this month, the Garfield Inconvenience Store and owner Sonja Hall were honored for supporting the library, delivering groceries to shut-ins, and volunteering for the food pantry and other community events. Sonja even keeps a book sale shelf in her store that benefits the Garfield Branch and her children are fixtures at library events and programs.

Also honored in 2018 was Starr Cathey of Albion. She is a longtime supporter of her community and library. Starr played a key role in combining that community’s library programs with the free summer lunch program for kids, insuring that both their minds and bodies were nurtured and well-fed.

Teresa Myott of Palouse is a former library trustee and very active within the library and the community. For many years, Teresa’s generous contributions of time and resources have had a huge
impact on the Palouse Branch.

Friends of Hospice provide important end of life services for residents throughout the region. WCL partners with this group by sharing the valuable books, resources and important community programs they provide.

Dyan Broemmeling encourages children’s literacy and learning in partnership with the Colton Library. She sees that the students in her Child Care Center enjoy great library programs and also works to get school aged children and her own involved with the fun programs being offered at the Colton Library.

Finally, I’d like to acknowledge the countless volunteers and many anonymous donations that Whitman County Library receives throughout the year. These caring volunteers and humble donors are quietly improving your library and your community.


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