Chesterton Tribune

John Corso leaving Library Board after 15 years

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By PAULENE POPARAD

There's a good reason why Westchester Public Library Board members began Thursday's meeting by sharing a cake decorated like a book.

It was a good-bye celebration for 15-year member John Corso, who is moving out of Westchester Township and has resigned his seat effective June 20. He may continue to serve for up to 60 days until his replacement is named.

Corso said he thought it would take several months to sell his Chesterton home and he likely could serve out his current term, which ends in March, but instead the home sold within weeks.

It will be up to the Duneland School Board to name Corso's replacement, but as is the custom the Library Board will make a recommendation. Anyone wishing to serve and who has been a Westchester Township resident for the past two years should contact library director Phil Baugher or a Library Board member.

A special board meeting June 23 at 7:30 p.m. was set to review the applications.

Members expressed regret that Corso will be leaving. "Your input on this board has been very helpful," said Rick Hokanson. Breaking with tradition, Corso was asked to make Thursday's motion to adjourn typically done by member Vern Odom.

A second resignation was announced. Minutes recorder Tyler DeMar also will be leaving; applications for that position are being accepted as well. Earlier this year assistant library director Jane Walsh-Brown announced her planned retirement at year's end.

Also Thursday, by unanimous vote the Library Board adopted a resolution formally electing circulation manager Claire Williams as assistant treasurer with authorization to approve warrants using board treasurer Nick Tilden's signature stamp in his absence. The board agreed with member Drew Rhed's suggestion that the assistant treasurer initial warrants when using the treasurer's stamp.

2012 budgeting begins

Board members got their first look at Baugher's proposed 2012 budget that contemplates 2 percent raises for employees other than himself and divides Walsh-Brown's previous dual responsibilities between a professional librarian and a curator of the WPL-operated Westchester Township History Museum.

The $2.9 million budget projects spending $430,000 for books, periodicals, newspapers and non-printed materials such as on-line services, DVDs, CDs, audio books, downloadable e-books and other related purchases.

The 2012 plan also allows $55,000 for architectural and construction spending to make the 1975 first-floor restrooms at Thomas Library handicapped accessible. An upgrade of the Library Service Center's main restrooms is under way now.

Next year Baugher hopes to make a $435,000 transfer to the Library Improvement Reserve Fund; he noted with $7.2 million cash on hand in all WPL funds at the current time, it's the most money the library's had banked since he became director in 1978.

Library trustees are accumulating funds to build a future addition to Thomas Library without having to finance the project entirely with a bond issue.

Modest circulation upswing

The board was encouraged to see WPL circulation increased overall by nearly 4 percent in May with 153,879 materials circulated year-to-date. Nevertheless, some key indicators like use of public computers is down. Board president Claire Jolie speculated the prolonged closure of Calumet Road for sewer work in downtown Chesterton near Thomas Library has discouraged patrons.

In other business, Baugher announced the WPL website now links to Ask Rose, a free homework help site popular with Duneland students. Added WPL homepage links now include the Tumble reading resources for pre-school through older students.

Tonight WPL's outdoor Friday summer concerts and film series kicks off but at the Library Service Center, 100 W. Indiana Ave., due to inclement weather. Musician/storyteller Lee Murdock will entertain at 7 p.m. with the PG-rated film "How to Train your Dragon" to follow.

Saturday at 7 p.m. at the LSC the movie “The King's Speech” will be shown. The R-rated movie detailing England's future King George VI's battle to overcome his stuttering won four Oscars

Walsh-Brown said openings still are available to participate in the fifth-annual Westchester Museum history camp, this year July 12-15 with a focus on railroads. Students entering Grades 4 and 5 are eligible to register.

The museum, housed in the Brown Mansion on Porter Avenue, will be a stop on the June 25 Duneland Garden Club garden walk slated from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

 

Posted 6/10/2011