Below is an article that addresses many questions. Please read below for answers - or try our Bionic version of the article. (Bionic reading is a new way of reading that bolds certain letters to make us read faster.)
The regular article reads below.
In an effort to share as much information as possible while remaining as transparent as possible regarding the upcoming Millstadt Library District annexation vote, we are responding to questions that have been asked in person, on social media or on other platforms.
Social media can be a wonderful communication tool, it allows us to connect to one another easily, quickly, and to people we may not have been able to before. However, that ease of sharing information can lead to confusion or misinformation at times. As a result, the Millstadt Library will not be responding to any questions about the annexation referendum on Facebook, though we will respond in a private message.
We were made aware of a rather large discussion recently and decided to address some of these questions in writing so they can easily be shared. No personal information will be shown from the conversations, but it’s possible someone may recognize their own questions. If you have any follow-up questions, please contact me, Millstadt Library Director Nichole Lauko, by stopping by the library, calling us at 618-476-1887, or emailing me directly at [email protected]
Why a $4 million price tag?
We fully understand $4 million is a lot of money, there is certainly no way around that. But did you know that most construction costs don’t include ALL the costs? Including contingencies, furniture, construction firm and architecture firm fees? Another reason this building is expensive? Labor. Construction laborers must be paid at the competitive wage (at least around $50 or so an hour) and the majority of the costs will go to them.
Please also keep in mind that this is a public building, not a residential building. Materials are more expensive, not only because of the current inflationary market conditions, but because they must be able to last longer and withstand more wear and tear from heavier use – unlike our homes.
What’s a library?
First, let me tell you what it’s not. It’s not a warehouse for books. A modern library is a freeform space that serves as an incubator for ideas, opportunities and social gatherings. It’s where the community can meet no matter the socioeconomic or generational gap — and the current Millstadt Library is already a fine example of this.
Don’t get caught up in the libraries that we are all so used to remembering from our past. Those days and those kinds of libraries have evolved into something much more user-friendly and resourceful. We want a makerspace with a 3-D printer (there’s a grant for one I can write, but we don’t have room to put one anywhere). We want to obtain additional audio equipment to have a study room double as a recording space. We want to be the place where the community comes together for meetings and can truly prosper, and the sky truly is the limit. Literacy will always be at the forefront of what we do, but literacy can be taught through so much more than just books alone.
The library we have is perfectly fine.
Sure, if you’ve never been there. If you’re not disabled in anyway. If you’re not bothered by cramped, dark spaces. If you don’t need a space in the library that can be quiet. If you’re not trying to offer something more to your community through dozens of programs for children and adults. If you’re not trying to be more fiscally responsible with the amount of books you are forced to weed from the shelves because by state laws you have to buy a certain amount of new books with your budget and don’t have enough space to have a larger variety of items.
Fortunately, we are blessed to have any space in town and to have the space that so many people before us fought hard to get because they had an inspired vision to improve our community. None of us at the library will ever say we are anything less than grateful for what we do have.
Higher taxes stink … but there is a connection between good schools and community facilities and higher property values.
I think we all can agree that taxes, well, they stink. No one likes them and we can all agree that living in Illinois creates an even larger dislike for taxes. Certainly, another tax in Illinois is the last thing anybody wants.
To even ask anyone to think about taking on an additional tax was something we only explored with careful consideration and a sincere belief that this would be the most beneficial move for everyone in our community. We have some of the best schools in the area, we can only imagine what a better library could do for the education in our area as well.
I will say, too, that back when the school was trying to fund the Primary Center (I was too young to vote) but I couldn’t understand at the time either – why should taxes increase for something that others don’t get to use? And it’s because it’s not for us, it’s for our community and for the future. New and better libraries increase test scores at schools, which increases state funding, which increases their standing, which increases property values (Gilpin, Karger & Nencka, 2021.) Sometimes, it’s not what we’re willing to do for ourselves, but what we’re willing to do for our neighbors.
And a library, unlike a school, or any of the other taxes we pay, is a building everyone will be able to access and use according to their own needs.
The cost of the annual library tax is anywhere from a yearly Netflix account to paying for people in prison?
Yearly Netflix Cost: Depending on your subscription plan: $120, $180, or $240 (Netflix, 2022)
Yearly Cost for an Illinois inmate: $37,000 (CivicFed.org, 2020)
Yearly Cost for a Millstadt Library Card: It’s going to vary depending on your taxable property amount. That means, your house might be worth $300,000 BUT, you might have a senior freeze, a veteran exemption, a disability, a homestead exemption. Please see below for more information.
What are some examples of the tax cost?
On all the information we’ve put out, we’ve put the same message. It can be estimated at about $95 on about a $200,000 home.
However, as mentioned above, it varies depending on your taxable property. Farmland is less because there is no home to be taxed.
Some estimates could be about $95 for a $200,000 house or about an $8 monthly increase in taxes or about $200 for a $400,000 house or $16 a month.
Farmland is the same tax and can be seen anywhere from 1.71 acres at under $0.40 a year to 140 acres at around $40 a year.
To find the estimated cost:
locate a copy of your latest tax bill or visit https://stclairil.devnetwedge.com/ and check the left-hand side of it until you find the box that says “taxable value.” Multiply that number by .0015 and you will find your estimated yearly library cost. The formula looks like this:
taxable value x .0015 = estimated library tax
For a particular question of a home of $250,000 without knowing any exemptions, we would divide that by 3 since the taxable value is only a third of the cost of the assessed value and then multiply that amount by the mill rate of .0015 and the yearly tax would be about $125.
Those already in the District see anywhere of an average from $95 to $200 a year.
Why does it have to be that big?
When we began our preconstruction planning process, we consulted with the best library building expert – he wrote the book on the subject and is still teaching classes about it at the University of Illinois. He suggested a much larger building – why? Because by state library laws and guidelines, it should be larger based on our population. We also must plan for what they call a 20-year growth period. There is no point in building a new building that would be out of room in only a few years.
That said, when we teamed up with our architecture firm — one we hired through a state-guided, rigorous RFP-bidding, interviewing, and reference-checking process — the first order of business was to make the building as small as we could without violating state and federal codes and regulations or inhibiting services, while keeping costs as minimal as possible.
The largest parts of the building are also in two spots, (besides the main area) the large meeting room and the smaller meeting room that doubles as a makerspace or room designed for hands-on creative activities. Both rooms are intended for use by community members and organizations — rooms that can be used even when the library is closed.
The library does have so much more to offer and is an investment in the community.
It is true – and it might not be for you. But besides the new library being able to offer meeting spaces, after-school study rooms for children and teens, it also fills other important roles a place where local businesses, clubs and organizations can meet, and even a place with Wi-Fi so people can work — or search for work.
The current library also offers free 24/7 Wi-Fi that extends to the parking lot, available computers, and extremely low-cost printing, scanning, copy and fax services.
A library card also gives you access to 500-plus libraries – anything south of Springfield, Ill., access to audio books, eBooks, audio books online, video games, board games, fantastic kits, and even discounts at Illinois museums and attractions.
For every $1 Millstadt Library taxpayers put in, they get $3.47 back (EveryLibrary, 2018). In 2021, Millstadt Library patrons saved over $466,000 by borrowing items from their library (IHLS, 2021.)
Did you also know that for every $1 spent in construction, $3.02 is returned to the local economy (Fuller, 2021)? The economic boost doesn’t end after construction, either. When people take advantage of our library programs, (because new libraries do get used more, especially since a larger meeting room is not found often in our area) they will also be using our local gas stations, our restaurants and our stores.
Out of town residents weren’t good enough for the library before. Why now?
The Millstadt Library was founded by a hard-working group of women from the Millstadt Civic Club who relied on donations and volunteers. In 1982, the Millstadt Library asked Millstadt residents to take on a library tax to support the library. They voted yes because they could see the value it would bring to everyone in the community.
At the time the library was created, those in charge created a Village library — and that meant that they could only ask the Village members to tax-support the library. Even then it was something village residents had to approve by vote.
Your Millstadt Library is now the Millstadt Library District – a separate entity from the Village of Millstadt. We are asking our neighbors that are currently outside the village limits, but inside Millstadt School District 160 and unserved by a neighboring library, to join us through an annexation referendum. Not just to gain access to our current library, but a new, modern library that Millstadt truly needs.
Let us be clear. We are not just asking those outside the Library District to join the district for full library card access and access to a lesser building. We’re asking you to join for the full library card access AND a great new building with additional space and resources, one that everyone will benefit from and be able to enjoy.
The library is not covered by Covid Relief money.
Trust us – we’ve applied for every grant we can find, and we continue to apply for everything. We have a stack of email rejections because unfortunately, no one wants to give grant money to construction projects. We have applied and received some small amounts that have been applicable for the building fund – none of it Covid-related, though. We did receive $5,000 from Nora Roberts – so we do recommend that you continue to read her books!
We were awarded a significant $1.2 million grant by the State of Illinois and the Illinois State Library and were ranked No. 1 in this highly competitive grant because the state believed our plans and our needs outranked the others.
Well, McDonald’s has free Wi-Fi.
Yes, it does. Too bad Millstadt doesn’t have one. And unfortunately, even though many people might have access to the internet, Wi-Fi, computers, and transportation, not everyone does. A child in a lower-income home might not have access to a computer at home and needs to use the one at the library to do their homework (we’ve seen it.) Many older people don’t have Wi-Fi or computers and a lot of people don’t have printers.
But we don’t think McDonald’s will usually help someone with their resume, help them format a Word document, print an item, download items, sit down with someone for a few hours to help fill out job applications, proctor exams, research gravestones or help them into their emails. We WILL perform all those services and more at the library to help those at all income levels meet their needs.
Following are some pertinent questions raised during our third open house meeting; library responses to those questions are in italics.
Those living within the village limits & currently paying a library tax will see NO difference in their taxes.
This is true. Village residents have been paying a tax for the Millstadt Library since the 1980s.
Those living in the county but within the MCS 160 district will now have an added tax that will remain forever to pick up the tab. Some on these groups are asking questions on the Vote Yes library page & getting their comments deleted and then ended up getting blocked from the page completely.
Those in the Millstadt School District 160 and unserved by a neighboring library will be asked to be annexed into the library district. An annexation does come with a tax. We don’t know anything about the comments on the Vote Yes page, but if anyone is being disrespectful or hurtful, as everyone has seen examples of anywhere online, it might be a good reminder that nothing on social media can ever be permanently deleted.
Here’s the original post and I can assure you most comments are asking the same question - why are we paying for a library in a permanent tax and just finding out about it about 45 days before the election.
Post: UPDATE: another meeting is scheduled for 6/9/22 at 6:30 at the library. Come with all of your questions.
FYI - attended the library meeting last night.
The library is projected to cost $3.9M - $4.1M.
Village has the chance for a grant of $1,254,722.65. That leaves a balance due of $2,645,277.35 - $2,845,277.36
Village residents taxes will not change. They will see no difference nor pay anything extra in order to have the library.
As mentioned above, village residents voted over 30 years ago to tax-support the library. They have been paying and supporting library services for years and we can personally attest that many of these patrons have and continue to donate towards the new library.
Village residents will vote to approve the new library.
This is also true. Because village residents have been paying into the library for all these years, they get to vote on whether or not the library district will be allowed to expand to allow new taxpayers/users. If this vote does not pass, the referendum ends here.
The only way to get this extra $2.6M - $2.8M is by the Village annexing everyone in the Millstadt School Dist #160, into the Village for the library only.
Try as we might, no amount of bake sales, grant applications, donation letters, and painting nights are going to get us to the $2.6 million by June 30. A full annexation of the applicable school district area would allow us to not only provide more services to more people but allow us to secure a loan to secure the grant.
You will not have access to the lower rates to use the pool or any other Village amenity - just to pay for the library.
We spent a good portion of time reassuring some of the guests at the open house that this was the case. They did NOT want to be annexed into the village. We are not a part of the village.
The cost to actually build the facility is almost 62% of the cost. When asked if once the building is actually paid for, will this added tax to us cease. The answer was no. They will keep taking that money and using it for ‘maintenance’.
As mentioned above the majority of the cost to build the building is to actually pay state-mandated wages for laborers. I personally don’t have a problem making sure that hard-working men and women get good money for a job well done.
The tax money will go to ‘maintenance,’ but that will be only a part of it and the same goes for the tax money that comes in from those within the village limits.
To secure the grant, bonds are going to be taken out in the amount of $2.6 million and paid back over 20 years. The additional revenue from newly annexed taxpayers will go to pay off the bonds. Anything left over will go to pay for additional resources and services to support the library and ALL of its patrons.
When asked why everyone in the county was not informed of this new tax possibility it was stated that they put some articles in the Millstadt news letter. County residents at the meeting stated that we were never allowed to vote on anything regarding the library, nor check books out so why would we think we had any say now - and the articles were obviously just passed over. There were library board members present, as well as the same amount from the county who were upset that they were not properly informed of this upcoming tax.
We have been keeping the public informed over a long period of many months with articles on all aspects of the library, the building process, design and construction companies hired, etc. There was a broadcast interview by a St. Louis TV station, a large article on the front page in the Belleville News Democrat and another in the Waterloo Republic-Times, both also featured online, plus articles we supplied to Senior Talk and have posted on our website, on Facebook and other platforms. We held two additional open houses with advertisements at the four-way stop and in all the print publications, including the Republic-Times and online. There was a survey before any of this that was distributed at almost all of the restaurants in town, at most of the businesses (some of them still have the flyer on their door,) shared in the print and online places, and shared by other organizations.
We were told multiple times that the Millstadt News is often just thrown away and that anything that says the library is just ignored.
As a local resident, it’s important to stay informed about our community and things that are happening there. Working at the library, we never know what someone is going to ask about, so we have to stay informed on what is going on around us. We simply consider that part of our job.
But we’re not making excuses, either. It’s possible we haven’t reached the amount of people we wanted, despite our best efforts to do so. The main reason we started our communications process so early was to make everyone aware of what was going on throughout the entire process.
As to never being allowed to vote on anything regarding the library – this is the first vote since it became tax-supported. And for being allowed to check out books, anyone is allowed to check out books – the difference is that those inside the district pay taxes that include their library card. Anyone outside the district must pay for their library card separately. There is no such thing as a free library card. (For that you can thank the State of Illinois.)
From what was stated by the library board there will be two votes on 6/28. One by village residents asking them to vote yes for the library which will cost them nothing.
A successful referendum from inside the district would be a vote of “yes” to expand the library district that they have been paying into for the last 30+ years and allow others access to the library.
The second vote will be on all county residents ballots asking them to vote to be annexed in for the library - but does not state on the ballot that said county residents will be the ones paying for it.
A successful annexation referendum vote for those inside the Millstadt School District 160 and unserved by a neighboring library would be a vote of “yes” to be annexed into the library district.
No, it does not say on the ballot that this is a tax because by legal voting standards, that is not what voters are voting for. Voters are voting for an annexation, not a tax. Annexations come with taxes.
If it passes in the village, but does not pass to be annexed in by county residents it does not pass.
This is true.
One county resident voted early yesterday and THOUGHT his ballot only asked: do you support the library initiative. He did not remember seeing the word annex or mention of new taxes.
The resident who stated this was incorrect. The ballot language has been on our FAQ page for months and is straight from the Library District Act of 1991. Here it is below:
“Shall the unserved territory of the Millstadt Consolidated School District #160, St. Clair County be annexed to the Millstadt Library District in St. Clair County?”
It was asked of the library board to get letters out to all county residents who will be incurring this new tax. The board stated they have already purchased the ground & have already paid for other services to be done. If the library does not pass at this time they said it could be 2026 before it could possibly be voted on again, to which some county residents stated would give them more time to raise funds without raising county taxes so much.
The Vote Yes Committee (a separate political entity from the library) had planned to send letters all along. Only according to the timeline that had been planned, it was to be closer to the date, not further away.
We can understand the concern among those receiving varying levels of communication about the library project and the annexation vote. Others may know nothing about it at all. But the mailers with valuable information and answers to questions are being finalized and we hope to have them out next week.
And yes, the library has purchased the property and put in sewer extensions among other land improvements – all with our own funds, funds that have been saved. The library has been more than fiscally responsible all these years and we have the history and documentation to show it. Construction costs just aren’t what people expect them to be and until someone starts working with experts and learning what the numbers are and why, it really can be difficult to truly understand. Public project costs are much different than residential costs.
Our library is never overly packed.
Just like any business, there are dead times. But when we’re busy, we’re busy.
If anyone has the chance, please look at some of our pictures on our Facebook page and see us using every square inch to host a regular program. We are always moving furniture to accommodate programs – that’s why a lot of our furniture is on wheels!
When we hosted Covid-19 Vaccine Clinics, visitors couldn’t even walk through the library and many of our regular patrons walked in and walked right back out saying they’d come back another day.
We host many programs around town to try to avoid the overcrowding, but it’s difficult and sometimes it costs and we don’t have the budget for those expenses.
Additionally, as per library space guidelines, the minimum space we are supposed to have is .6 sq. ft. per capita, we’re at 37% of that.
And as for the book scenario, yes, we truly do have to get rid of books. We haven’t weeded (a library term for removing them) them in a while, we keep moving them around instead. We must buy so many books based on a percentage of our budget per state laws. Our current library holds over 17,000 items, which is pretty impressive, but it takes a lot of work to try to keep as many items as we do, and we have to get rid of items we’d rather keep because we have to.
But the library can just have the building it’s currently in.
There are a lot of conversations about this topic, unfortunately, there are no official documents where the Village has ever offered the Library the Village building. No contracts, no minutes.
The library has been looking to expand for years and looked into expanding onto the green space adjacent to the current library and even to moving into the building that Pour Decisions currently occupies.
But we’re not saying the Village building wouldn’t work just because we don’t want it to, we have discussed it with experts because it was a possibility we wanted to check out.
Our architect and building consultant have told us many reasons why the building won’t work as a library. The main area where the boiler and other mechanics are? That’s all weight-loading. To have the proper number of electrical outlets, the entire floor needs to be ripped out and new concrete foundations poured. There are some structural issues and with the age of the building and there’s a high chance of asbestos.
We could probably build a second floor? It would have to be a weight-bearing second floor and a second floor means another staff always on duty and an elevator with at least a $5,000 yearly maintenance cost. We could take up the rest of the outdoor space, but then we would also destroy any chance of outdoor programming and growth for the next 20 years.
The village also doesn’t have plans to build their new facility any time soon.
We will say, however, for the second lowest tax on anyone’s bill (the only one lower is the Millstadt Township) this would be a building you get to go inside and use all year round. Meeting rooms you could use and that other organizations could use, independent study rooms that could be used for tutoring, small meetings, or get-togethers too.
The new location is too far or not safe.
As long as there is opportunity and motive, crime can happen anywhere.
The new location is advantageous to the Primary Center to share resources especially since they lack a librarian. In our talks with the St. James School Board, we agreed that the distance isn’t that far. We do know that we’ll have to come up with some solutions to host our pre-school readers, but Millstadt is full of educated people who will surely help us all come up with something.
Many children and adults use our wonderful park and adding the library to the area gives us the opportunity to create a new community campus and just think about it – clean bathrooms!
(Also, more parking for homecoming and other events!)
We also already have plans for security cameras which we hope will be a benefit to our police department and community as well.
The internet is like a library at home.
The internet has its usefulness. But as we mentioned before, not every child, teen, adult, or senior has access to the internet or a device that can access the internet. Not everyone has the skills to navigate the internet either.
Part of a library’s job is to find a balance between technology and practical resources. If we cannot function without the skills to use a physical map, how are we going to get home when our phone dies?
Why not use the Mertz building?
The Mertz building is currently legally tied up and we are not an authority to speak on the subject.
We have done our due diligence and research and know that a building like that would not suit what our vision for a modern, community space would be. And although the library will help to add some revenue back to our economy, it would not be enough to offset the amount that could be brought in by a business that would occupy a space like the Mertz building.
I don’t want to be annexed into the city.
No residents outside the Village of Millstadt will be annexed into the Village of Millstadt.
And remember, this is only if this is a successful annexation, but there are three kinds of libraries – city, village, and district. We were a Village library which meant we were a part of the Village.
Since September, we have been a District Library, a taxing body that is similar to the Fire District. (We don’t give out full size candy bars on Halloween though.)
What’s also great about being a District Library is that if our District expands, then that means those who can run for election on our board of trustees can expand as well.
It would be nice to see a breakdown of the $4 million budget.
We’re more than happy to oblige. We’ve had the images of the board with that information up on our New Building page on our website since June 2021 and a board up in the library with that information since then as well. I also take boards with that information with me to many of the events I’ve been to around town. We even have a recording of the first Open House from February on Facebook since an ice storm came through the same day and we had to go remote. But as we’ve learned throughout this process – information easily gets missed. So, here’s the information below.
What is the projected collective annual tax revenue from those annexed?
The estimated number is $180,000.00 from around a little under 5,000 households. We currently accrue around $133,250.00 from around 4,000 taxpayers.
What is the library doing to make this as inclusive as possible? Will there be barrier-free designing in mind? Will there be neurodivergent friendly areas in the building? Will there be state of the art technologies for those with hearing and visual disabilities? Will this be an LGBTQ and BIPOC safe space? Or is the construction and functionality only catering to the current demographic? Will this be a truly inclusive space?
We’re not sure what everyone knows about libraries in general, but libraries are at the forefront of forward thinking and inclusion. Some of the amazing programs our neighbor libraries have and we have had promote inclusivity and challenge stereotypes. And even though our library may not look modern in any way, we share the modern library sentiments. We’re also not afraid to admit when we’re not experts and be open to learning something new.
Our current library is striving to be neurodivergent friendly through offering sensory items and bins and have been working with parents and people much more qualified than we are to continue to add to our ability to serve our neurodivergent community. We do offer to ability through the State of Illinois to provide patrons with the Talking Books program and our library offers audio and large print resources as well. As for a LGBTQIA+ and BIPOC safe place, everyone is always welcome at our library. We’ve been making an effort to increase the diversity in our collection to reflect everyone.
As for the how the building is being designed, here is what our architect answered:
The new library is intentionally being designed with flexibility, inclusivity, and universal design in mind with a series of spaces and experiences that allow for users to seek and find a variety of experiences within the library space. The library’s meeting spaces will allow for great flexibility in creating opportunities for the community to come together and celebrate community events, culture, performances, and programs on a wide variety of topics of interest to all in the community. Universal and barrier-free design principles are being utilized throughout the building, including fully accessible restrooms that exceed ADA size and space requirements, an all gender / companion care restroom, and quiet study rooms and furnishings allowing for a wide variety of users to be able to enjoy and productively use the library spaces. The library’s main meeting room will have an assistive listening system as required by the Illinois Accessibility Code for patrons with hearing concerns, and the library will have an intentionally designed signage and wayfinding system that will not only meet ADA requirements for vision impairments but also quickly orient new users who may be unfamiliar with the building to the space. The new library is being designed in a manner that will allow all patrons to choose the experience that they wish to have within the building, with opportunities for social seating, one-on-one discussion, or quiet and solitary experiences. While the building will have splashes of color and fun and friendly elements for children and teens, the overall interior design palette is intended to harmonize with nature and provide a calming and peaceful environment for all users, fostering as inclusive an environment as possible.
Will there be more fulltime staff hired? Part time staff? Volunteer only? Will the wages be competitive? What kind of job opportunities will be offered with a larger building? Will there be difficulty staffing the facility to provide reasonable hours of operation?
With a successful annexation referendum, we do hope that there would be an increase in operational hours and staff. These questions are full board decisions that would have to be fully vetted if and when the time comes.
We're 20 years into the 21st century and we really need a new library?
The libraries of yesteryears with card catalogs and rows of only books are gone. People are visiting libraries more and more each year for programming and learning new skills like coding and different crafts and for socializing because social media is a communication tool – not a form of communication.
Millstadt hasn’t had the chance to experience what a modern library can be and we want to give that experience to our community. There are people who don’t see the value in a library, but there are people that do. These spaces are often deemed as the third place – the place that isn’t work, isn’t home, but is a place someone can go to enjoy themselves and pursue something of interest. Libraries are also often the first place for new technology – where were computers easily accessible when many people first didn’t have access to them?
This article is just one of many that provide a small snapshot of what some libraries can be and how people use them https://www.neh.gov/article/complicated-role-modern-public-library
Other than the old geezers who are dwindling in numbers by the day, is there really a demand from the young people for a new library? (Verbatim from someone’s question.)
And isn’t it wonderful that our seniors who deserve our utmost respect still visit our library and libraries? We even offer homebound delivery service for those unable to make it out of their homes and sometimes the social interaction at the library is their only social activity for the day. Sometimes, their books or audiobooks are their only escape. Or maybe, they’re going on a senior field trip across the country and are getting DVDs for the entire group (yes, true story and it’s happening all summer.)
Are the children that excited to leave school to go to another library?
We can’t speak for every child, but the ones who come to the library are certainly excited to be there. But we like to think that the giggles and chatter and their repeated use and checkouts of materials are good indications. We have students after school coming to use the computers for homework or to play games, we have students and children that like to play boardgames and I went out to personally buy a Monopoly because that’s what they wanted to play – we have some great images on our social page. And please, come to a Crafternoon – they’re fantastic!
And for anyone who grew up around Millstadt, if you had a friend who lived in the actual town area, besides hanging out at their house or walking around the town or the park – where are you supposed to go? We hope that the library can serve as a safe space for children and teens to hang out when they want to be out. We also hope to serve as a great addition to after school care.
Doesn't each school have a library?
They do, but those libraries are only available to students and only available to the students during the school year and during school hours.
At our last open house, an attendee who is in 6th grade also informed us that at MCS they have 30 minutes a week to visit the library if their visit isn’t cancelled for the week. (Schools have rigorous schedules they have to follow.)
The school libraries also don’t have access to the materials we do as we are a part of a consortium of 500+ libraries and their items. When someone has a library card to the Millstadt Library, they actually have a library card to all of the other local libraries as well.
We also help local teachers save money on resources by supplying them with books and kits through the library system as well.
More meeting space, programming, and lending services. This is the sales pitch?
No, no sales pitch here. Just facts. Our goal as the library is to educate and inform. Most people don’t need 30 days to make a decision and most have probably made theirs already. We’re offering the ability to be a part of something truly great, to grasp a great grant opportunity, and to be a part of our library community. We’re also laying the foundation for the future of our community and what a new library can do for our area and those that live in it.
We could use a dog park in Millstadt.
We think that’s a wonderful idea! Of course, we have no say in the matter, but a conversation could be started with either the Parks Board or the Village. We’d be happy to help!
Can’t you download any book online or on a tablet?
Unfortunately, book publishing doesn’t work like that, not to mention, there are costs associated with those services and usually, those services only provide eBooks.
A Kindle subscription costs around $120 a year (Amazon, 2022.)
An Audible subscription costs around $150 a year (Audible, 2022.)
We know that some area residents aren’t happy about how the information was communicated. Rightly so. It wasn’t the library’s intention for it to happen that way.
Unfortunately, there’s nothing we can do to undo what has been done. As many have pointed out, there is around a month left to make an educated decision. We ask that anyone who would like more information to please spend this shortened time finding the correct answers to their questions.
This is a voluntary annexation referendum – an ask for voters to vote on what is best for them and their families. The decision is in the hands of the voters.
Many of the things that people do not see are because they don’t visit the library and because they don’t work at the library – and everyone has their reasons.
Growing up, my family and I didn’t have access to the library. We live rural. We had a failing well and were offered city water, but could only get it if we were annexed, so we became annexed into the city ourselves. (We were promised sewer and gas, but that hasn’t happened, but the Village has a lot going on and probably a good reason for it.) If we had the option, we would have remained unannexed, but the best thing we did get, was access to library cards.
This was some years ago, when social media was around, but not used like it is today and town was between any kind of news mailing. We didn’t know what our library had to offer. We never thought about purchasing a library card because it was an additional cost we didn’t need. Once it was on our tax bill, we felt we might as well get our money’s worth and we save a lot of money every year, way more than what we pay for in taxes.
We do have the upcoming Open House on June 9 at 6:30 and we welcome everyone to come. But please, if anyone does have questions, reach out and get them answered now. We’ll gladly answer them again at the Open House, but there’s no reason to hold in questions.
Setting up these Open Houses are difficult because they have a lot of moving parts, but I’m always available to answer questions by email at [email protected] and you can call the library at 618-476-1887.
If you’d like to set up a small meeting with a few people or a one-on-one, to answer some questions, contact me and we can figure a time that would work.
And stop by the library. See what we have to offer without a library card. We have our Summer Reading and Activity Program coming up and it’s a great way to test drive what your library can do for you.
Thank you again for your time and we’ll continue to do better. That’s all we can do.
Because no matter what happens after the June 28 vote, we’ll still be here, doing the same thing we do every day for our patrons because we love what we do and who we do it for. No matter the outcome, we still invite everyone into the library and to join us, after all, it’s our mission to be open to ideas, open to community, and most importantly, open to you.