Westchester Public Library is looking into the possibility of offering a
remedial program for youngsters who might benefit from extra reading
WPL director Phil Baugher told the Library Board that professionals are
finding more early readers are having trouble reading at the level they
“A lot is being done in libraries and schools to help young readers come up
to speed. We’re exploring this to see what we might do to help these
students,” advised Baugher.
WPL Children’s Manager Merribeth Paunica has been researching various
programs that might prove to be beneficial if the one chosen is both
feasible and affordable for WPL. Some volunteer tutoring might be included.
Baugher said a lot more research needs to be done. WPL would have to strike
a balance between offering services to students who would benefit from
remedial help while not spreading the library’s resources too thin to the
detriment of other patrons.
In related news, Baugher said two student interns working on their Masters
in Library Science degrees will volunteer in the Children’s Department this
WPL circulation in January again showed a big jump at the recently remodeled
Hageman Library in Porter. “The Hageman statistics are just outstanding,”
said Library Board president Vern Odom. Agreed member Rick Hokanson, “It’s
hard to believe.”
Juvenile readers and interest in new periodicals boosted Hageman circulation
there by 86 percent. At Thomas Library in Chesterton there was a 1.27
percent increase over January, 2009 or a 3.95 percent circulation jump
The Library Board voted 4-0 with members Sharon Robbins and Drew Rhed absent
to approve a new lease that renews in June for WPL’s use of the Duneland
School Corp. Brown Mansion. The historic 700 W. Porter Ave. building houses
WPL’s Westchester Township History Museum.
The lease amount increases from $1,000 a month to $1,500. That cost includes
all utilities, repairs, improvements, building insurance and parking-lot
Said Baugher, “It’s my opinion it’s a fair amount for us to pay and the
school to collect. The school is struggling (financially) and we want to pay
our own way.” The state recently ordered schools to make deep budget cuts
due to funding shortfalls.
It was announced that a new Spring Tea at the Museum will be a major
fundraiser in lieu of the past Appraisal Fairs. May 2 various vendors will
provide food and specialty items accompanied by entertainment and a new
exhibit. Tickets are $20 each and a table may be reserved.
Upcoming March museum programs are Knitting Together, March 7 from 1 to 5
p.m.; Mad About Mysteries: The Golden Age, March 10 at 2 p.m. and repeated
March 13 at 2 p.m.; a gallery demonstration of Scandinavian Weaving March 14
from 2 to 4 p.m.; Bookmarks at the Museum: Alex and Me March 18 at 2 p.m.;
and Meet the Author: Rosemary Gard of Destiny’s Dowry including a display of
Croatian textiles March 21 at 2 p.m.
The Library Board is awaiting the Duneland School Board’s appointment of the
person to serve out the remaining term of WPL board member Karen Nash, who
Last month the Library Board interviewed six applicants and recommended all
six to the School Board although Nick Tilden scored the highest on a ranking
system. Additional names forwarded were Brandon Kroft, Rebecca Maranto,
Michele Corazzo, Daniel Keilman and Tracy Freeze. Kroft since has withdrawn
his name from consideration after being appointed to the Chesterton Police
In other business, Baugher said the server WPL used to host its newly
revamped website was hacked, which shut down its web pages for a day. The
data was restored and the server has been moved to a new off-site host.
The library’s financial status remains strong with $5.7 million in all
accounts including $4.4 million in investments. WPL’s 2010 operating budget
tentatively has been set at $2.79 million and the library’s capital projects
fund at $144,994 by the state. The effect of the property-tax circuit
breaker has yet to be calculated.
The Library Board reconvened in closed executive session at the conclusion
of the public meeting for its annual evaluation of Baugher as director.