With some additional funding, the award-winning Pine River Valley Library can expand its services with extended hours and give its staff a modest raise, the first in three years.
For those voters residing within the boundaries of the special district east of Durango, ballot issue 6A should be an easy Yes.
Added hours will include Sundays, and one more day with evening hours to 8 p.m. The additional 1.5 mills will return the library to 61 hours a week and add two more hours. The cutback came with the failure of the library’s mill levy increase – a larger one than this one – a year ago.
A couple of staff members who are part time will become full time in order to handle the library’s increased availability.
For books and materials, the budget will be increased by 20%. The availability of the popular e-books will see an increase as well. Some money will be added to the emergency fund for stability.
Additional first-year revenue from the 1.5 mills is expected to be $337,000. The library district’s current mill levy is 2.5 mills.
The Pine River Library has its fans in high places, as well. It was named best library jointly by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Library Journal in 2014. Three of its staff members, including head librarian Shelley Walchak, have received state library honors.
In addition to its changing complement of books and periodicals, the Pine River Valley Library is especially good at being a resource center for all ages, with programs for toddlers, after-school students from all grades and adults. Computers are available, and the large garden outside the east wall makes it clear to volunteers where vegetables originate.
A meeting room, with access after hours, is popular with Bayfield groups.
A good library is a community asset, supporting school learning and appealing to prospective newcomers. An expansive and vibrant library signals to observers and first-timers that the community cares about learning and providing a variety of services.
The Pine River Valley Library is an exceptionally good library. A Yes vote on 6A will make it that much better.