Agendas and Minutes

Citizen Library Advisory Ad Hoc Committee (View All)

Citizen Library Advisory Ad Hoc Committee

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Citizen¡¯s Library Advisory Ad Hoc Committee

Special Meeting

April 23, 2008

City Council Chambers

7:00-9:00 pm



Churchman, Vavra, Keil, Gibb, Batistella, Burkholder Seltzer (city staff liaison), Blossom (library staff liaison)



Mayor John Morrison, (council liaison)


I. Call to Order:

The meeting was called to order at 7:00 pm.  Members introduced themselves.


II. Citizen Issues:

Walt Marsh

Referred to an email he sent to the list serve.  He supports an Ashland/Talent library district and opposes a local library levy.  He is also opposed to contracting with LSSI for library services.


III. Approval of minutes: Churchman/Keil all in favor.


IV. Recap of report presented to City Council on February 5.

Vavra summarized the report presented by the CLAC to the City Council on February 5, 2008.  She explained the charge of the committee was to review current library services and to identify a long term funding solutions for the library.  The CLAC has learned a lot over the past several months after hearing from stakeholders, professionals and working with the council library advisory committee.  Specifically they learned that there was not enough time to coordinate with other jurisdictions to develop a county-wide solution before the two year Ashland levy expired.  Based on that realization, they reported to the City Council that a four year levy should be considered for the November 2008 election to gain time to develop a long term funding solution.


Keil commented that the CLAC was directed by the council to seek county wide solutions and that Ashland was ¡°not to go it alone¡±.  He added that an additional year of funding was needed to put Ashland in sync with the county funding because the current county funding expires in 2010 and the Ashland levy expires in 2009.  In addition, a four year levy means Ashland will not have to ask for another levy in two years. 


V. Public Input re: CLAC Recommendation to extend the levy for four more years.


Judi Honore

Honore told the committee how she became involved in the ¡°save the library¡± campaign and expressed hope that the City Council will do everything in its power to keep the libryar opens.  (complete statement is attached)


Gloria Longhi

Expressed admiration of the Ashland citizens for passing the local option levy.  She spoke of the senior outreach program at the library and how important the program is for elderly Ashland residents who need large print books and are unable to get to the library.


Jim Hardt

Spoke of growing up in a small community of 1,600 residents in Kansas and the importance of the library to the community.  He spoke of the successes of many of his childhood friends and believes their professional successes are directly related to the access to books they had as children.  Today, the population has dropped to 1,200 and yet they found a way to fund a brand new library.


Carol Jensen

Jensen spoke to the importance of libraries not only for information access but for equal access.  Ashland has many families that do not have resources to have books in their home or computers in their home.  Young people especially need access to computers for school work and social networking, and schools are not open in the evenings and weekends.  Libraries offer books that young people WANT to read not just what they have to read for school assignments.  She also indicated that statistics show that children who participate in summer reading programs are ahead of other students at the beginning of the school year.


Ann Magill

Magill is a former High School librarian and was the librarian for North Bend prior to coming to Ashland.  North Bend has 52 hours of library services and the recommended number of hours for Ashland, given its population size is 72 hours.  Forty hours is great but we need more.  She supports the fall ballot measure.


Shelly Elkovich

Elkovish home schools her children and spoke how devastating it was when the library was closed to get access to books.  Many home school children attend the alternative school Willow winds.  Teachers at Willow Winds rely on the library to conduct research and find teaching materials for the home school families.  She support a 4şuyear levy as a safety net until permanent funding is secured.


Churchman asked how many children in Ashland are home schooled.  Keil commented that there are 300 families who use Willow wind but many home school children doe¡¯t attend Willow Wind.


Josh Gordon

Gordon is a volunteer at the library.  He explained that we all need knowledge and information regardless of our socio economic status.  Keeping the library open is not about one group or another but about all of us.  He asks that candidates in the upcoming local election clearly state their position on libraries and funding.


Bill Street

Street is the High School librarian and spoke of his history attending the Ashland library with his children.  He spoke of the partnership between the library and the elementary schools over the years and indicated that the with the closing of the two schools that were in walking distance to the library the partnership is not as strong as it once was.  His survey of teachers indicates that students have less of a connection with the library than before and he believes this is because of the lack of the library connection at the elementary level.


Regina Ayars

Ayars asks that the library service not be interrupted again as it was last year.  The focus of the entire community was directed to the library issue and there are many issues that need community focus.  She supports a four-year levy.  She understands and appreciates the work of the CLAC and deters to their judgment as to the levy amount.


Taliah Mortensen

Mortensen has been home schooled her entire life and will attend college in the fall.  She spoke of how expensive it is to purchase books and how students rely heavily on the library to do homework and research.  She regrets that she is not old enough to vote for the library in the fall election.


Marilyn Bailey

Bailey spoke on behalf of the Soroptomist.  She explained that as a service club, they see many faces of the community.  Despite what appears to be an affluent community, Ashland has many families who do not have the resources to have books and computers in their homes.  She believes it is important to provide library services  county wide and commends the foresight of the CLAC to ask for a four year levy.


Bill Rauch

Rauch is the artistic director of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival,  His professional life was shaped by his local public library.  As a child that was where he discovered his love of theatre and read all the plays.  He brings his children to the Ashland library and believes that a public library is a crucial resource to the community but also for visitors.  For a community so rooted in culture, it is unthinkable that it would not have a public library.


VI. Report of CLAC members on the library open house held earlier in the day.


Members commented they heard from many people during the day and all were passionate about the need for library services and most requested more hours of service.  Churchman commented that they asked each person about the value of the service and library books.  Each estimated that they would value the books at approximately $180 şu $200 if they had to purchase the books they borrow from the library.  A homebound senior who could not attend the open house called and spoke to a committee member of the importance of the senior outreach program.  Other hoped that the library service would not be interrupted again.  Gibb was stuck by the number of people who do not have computers at home and need to library for computer access, he said computer users ranged in age from teenagers to the elderly.  Many users commented that it is not just the access to books and information but they love the library because of the positive impact the library has had on their lives.  Burkholder commented that everyone was galvanized by the closure of the library and hoped it would not happen again.


Vavra read aloud some of the emails and letters the committee received (attached). 


Vavra then commented on other things the CLAC has learned:

Former Ashland librarian John Sexton explained a service model called a Federation of Libraries whereby the county provides base level services for local libraries and communities supplement those services


She explained that by State Law special districts can only be funded through property tax where as counties and cities can implement other funding options e.g. local sales tax, fees, etc.


The CLAC learned from Representative Buckely that it is unlikely that libraries could be funded with state money.  And that public libraries cannot charge fees to people who want to use the library.


The CLAC has worked closely with Jackson County Library Advisory Committee and spoke about the adult literacy campaign.


The committee will meet on Thursday, April 24 at 4:00 p.m. in the Ashland Library.


VII. Meeting adjourned at 8:30 p.m.


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