For immediate release
For more information, contact:
Mabel Phillips, Director, Christian County Library,
1005 N 4th Ave, Ozark, MO 65721 Tel 581-2432 Fax 581-8855 email@example.com
The Christian County Library Board of Trustees will place on the November 3 ballot an option for voters to support improved, more convenient library facilities and services similar to what the average Missouri library district offers.
The library hopes to improve and update library services currently offered in the district’s single 1972 building near the Ozark City Park. The plan resulted from six years of citizen surveys, focus groups, panel discussions, and consultants.
People highly value convenience. Those responding to the surveys and participating in the focus groups asked for information, library materials, and programming when and where it fit individual schedules. The library offered and put in place immediately as many added conveniences as funding and existing facilities allowed. A broad based variety of remotely accessible databases were purchased and made available. Use of even a couple of the databases gives any library patron who chooses to do so and has internet access many times the value of their annual property tax support without even coming to the library. Extended library hours are 8:30 am to 8:00 pm Monday through Thursday and 8:30 am to 5:00 pm Friday and Saturday. Book returns are available 24/7 at the library, J and M Foods in Sparta, the Nixa Community Center and the Clever Public Library. Pick up of requested materials is provided during public hours at the three additional sites. A laptop lab offers community courses based on patron needs and requests. Library websites and catalogs have become more convenient and responsive.
Providing requested conveniently located, adequate facilities is more expensive and is impossible with the existing 8.7 cents collected levy. Studies prioritized room for programming, collection, modern library services, and pick-up windows. A survey presented three possible scenarios to randomly selected citizens: 1) about 22,000 square foot libraries in Ozark and Nixa with administrative offices and staffing added to one of them 2) about 22,000 square foot libraries in Ozark and Nixa with administrative offices and staffing added to one of them plus 5,000 square foot branches in Sparta and Clever 3) about a 37,000 square foot headquarters between Nixa and Ozark and 5,000 square foot branches in Sparta and Clever. Seventy-seven percent of the survey respondents most preferred the three facility option. The board approved three-library plan will place a library within ten miles of over eighty-five percent of all Christian County residents.
Before voting, citizens want to know where libraries will be and what they will look like . Prime Christian County locations are now less available and more expensive. The district carefully saved money toward future needs. Although much too little to build, let alone furnish, equip, stock or operate even one library, it allowed purchase of library sites. In 2008, the board decided to purchase land and hire an architect before setting an election date. Thom Field of Neale and Newman represented the library on site selection and negotiation. Sapp Design Associates, Architects, helped evaluate sites and propose placement of building on sites and will design proposed new buildings. The library hired Carson Elliff of Yates, Mauck, Bohrer, Elliff & Fels, P. C. as bond attorney and Julia Portman of Edward Jones as Underwriter. Plans toward meeting residents’ hopes and expectations for future library facilities and services moved forward.
At the April 24 board meeting, trustees decided that progress on site selection and preliminary design will allow us to answer the “where will it be?” and “what will it look like?” questions by this summer and hold the election in November.
Architects, consultants and the underwriter‘s estimates agree that building and operating the proposed libraries require a levy increase to twenty-five cents a hundred dollars. Christian County Library’s voted levy is twenty cents. Reassessment and the Hancock amendment have decreased the allowable collectable rate to 8.7 cents since the April 1971 election setting that rate. Twenty-five cents is the average levy now supporting Missouri county libraries with populations between 50,000 and 100,000. If approved, the plan would bring Christian County support, facilities and services nearer the state average. Per capita, Christian County is now among the lowest in the state on most reported measurements. For each $100,000 assessed value of a home, the proposed levy would increase property tax about $34 or just under a dime a day.