Chesterton Tribune


WPL magazine downloads available; free music, languages coming soon

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A new downloadable, free magazine-subscription service now is available through Westchester Public Library’s website.

In the first 10 days, library director Phil Baugher told the Library Board on Thursday, 51 users had downloaded 356 magazines chosen from the 150 electronic versions of popular magazines.

Increasingly, some magazines like Newsweek are going to online publication only.

Library patrons with a valid library card are required to login with the ZINIO magazine service the first time and thereafter each new issue of the selected periodicals automatically will be downloaded to the patron’s computer or portable device, or an email notice can be received to signal an issue’s ready to be delivered.

Baugher said each magazine will keep its place where the patron stopped reading, and articles can be exported or printed. “We’ve had all kinds of calls from library directors in the area (about the service),” he told the board.

WPL will continue to carry hard-copy versions of magazines, newspapers and publications in its reading room.

Baugher noted it’s taking longer than expected but WPL is working with a vendor to add the Freegal music library and Rocket Languages databases to the website as well. “I think (Freegal’s) going to be a hit once the kids know about it,” said Library Board president Drew Rhed.

Baugher reminded that for younger children, the Tumblebooks link on the WPL website requires no login and offers many fun and educational activities.

Thursday’s three-hour meeting saw the Library Board authorize spending $28,118 for new display cases, AV equipment and exhibit panels for the WPL-operated Westchester Township History Museum in the Brown Mansion. Curator Serena Sutliff’s year-end 2012 report showed 4,200 visitors and program attendees compared to 3,842 in 2011.

A second phase of museum improvement, not yet OK’d, would be removing some walls in the exhibit areas to configure the space better, but that will require input and approval from the Duneland School Corp., from which WPL leases the Brown Mansion. The exhibit area is in a later addition and is not part of the historic home itself.

Baugher said the library should pay for the remodeling and he will consult with a structural professional and Duneland before bringing a firm proposal.

He also plans to meet with an architect about remodeling the Hageman Library’s restrooms in Porter to make them handicapped accessible this year. Restrooms in Thomas Library and the Library Service Center were upgraded recently.

On another matter, board members warmly received Baugher’s proposal to have custom banners promoting the library properties installed on the approximately 15 WPL-owned light poles at those sites. Banner design and purchase costs will be developed.

Community volunteers have until Jan. 23 to sign up at WPL for each to find people who like to read and help distribute 20 free copies of various recent books to celebrate World Book Night on April 23.

Two upcoming Library Board vacancies need to be filled in March; members will meet in two weeks to interview the first candidates. Additional applications still will be received.

By unanimous vote the Library Board adopted a new meeting-room policy that clarifies all activities by groups that use the rooms must be free and open for the public to observe, but not to automatically participate in the activity, address the group, disrupt the meeting, take group materials or share their meals or refreshments.

At the meeting’s conclusion the board reconvened as a Board of Finance and for most of the hour debated whether it should continue having Baugher invest surplus funds or hire a financial expert; last month Umbaugh & Associates made a presentation about investment strategies.

WPL has $7.8 million in all funds with about $6 million available for investment; the money is being retained to help pay for future expansion of library facilities and reduce needed financing at that time.

Baugher said in 2008 investments made $136,055 in interest but last year due to the economy only $3,471 although a CD matured this month gaining $38,148.

The focus of the discussion was not so much to maximize WPL’s yield but to protect the money while invested in the event a bank would fold. WPL attorney Terry Hiestand said if there’s so much as a wrinkle in the market a financial advisor could make adjustments immediately. Baugher agreed he doesn’t have the expertise or ability to do so.

The eventual decision was to have him invest the excess funds for three months, continue talks with Umbaugh without obligation, and to readopt the current investment policy for now.



Posted 1/11/2013