A suggestion that Westchester Public Library might find several uses for a
bookmobile was discussed at Thursday’s Library Board meeting but dismissed
as too costly to justify.
“I don’t see it’s the type of expenditure that would be well received by our
community right now at this time in this economy,” said library director
A staff member had proposed using a bookmobile for visits to the homebound
WPL makes, and to participate at festivals with library programs and to
encourage library-card sign-up. Baugher noted the larger Porter County
library system doesn’t have a bookmobile although it did previously.
WPL board member Rick Hokanson said the only area perhaps benefiting from
bookmobile services would be Burns Harbor, which Baugher said at one time
was a stop for the Porter County bookmobile.
He noted the size of a library territory should justify the expense of a
bookmobile, which also can be used as a temporary branch or to help
determine the best location for a future library branch.
WPL’s service territory is Westchester Township and the system operates
Thomas Library in Chesterton and Hageman Library in Porter.
If WPL were to consider a new branch in Burns Harbor, said Baugher, the
facility and programs would have to meet state minimum standards.
Board member Sharon Robbins said as a young mother in Gary, the bookmobile
was your friend. “It was a really nice thing.”
Baugher said times have changed with online library services and e-Readers
making information available in new ways. Also, disabled, homebound or blind
patrons can sign up for free talking books and other materials that require
WPL is branching out with an upcoming series of youth story times to be held
in conjunction with some of the remaining downtown Chesterton European
Markets. September is library card sign-up month and WPL also will offer to
replace lost library cards free of charge; the usual cost is $1 for the
first replacement card and $5 for the second.
Fine amnesty won’t be part of the September promotions, said Baugher,
because people tend not to pay their fines and wait until the next amnesty
if a first one is offered.
Following several months’ discussion how to better market WPL, the library
is planning a newspaper insert, rack cards, advertising in local Chamber of
Commerce and Chesterton High School publications, and trial daytime rental
of space on the new Chamber LED advertising sign along Indiana 49.
A fall WPL display behind the Thomas reference desk will mark Banned Books
Week Sept. 30-Oct. 6.
In other business, work was slated to begin today on remodeling the
second-floor restrooms at Thomas Library; construction should take about one
week. It’s the third recent restroom renovation at WPL facilities.
On Baugher’s recommendation the Library Board amended its long-range plan to
list four community goals. Baugher said the current plan addresses community
needs, but the Indiana State Library wanted goals instead.
New state legislation for public entities prompted the board with member
Nick Tilden absent to revise the wording of WPL’s purchase and service
contracts to require that contractors certify they do not provide goods or
services of $20 million or more in value to the energy sector of Iran
including petroleum, natural gas, nuclear power or fuel pipelines.
WPL circulation through August shows an overall 1.27 percent drop compared
to 2011. Baugher said circulation at some neighboring libraries has dropped
7 to 9 percent this year. WPL’s cash position remains strong with $7.3
million in all funds.
The library’s proposed 2013 budget goes before the Porter County Council
Sept. 25 for non-binding review. The Library Board will conduct public
hearings at Thomas Library Oct. 11 and Oct. 25 with adoption slated the
In staff changes Susan Swarner was hired as museum educator at the WPL-operated
Westchester Township History Museum at the Brown Mansion, and Pat Jackson
was hired as library clerk with primary responsibilities in the Children’s
Department; both positions are part-time.