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Marcellus Township Wood Memorial Library

History of the Library - Part 8

Moving Right Along: The 1997 Plan By Suzanne Lind

Early in 1997, Library Director Christine Nofsinger suggested to the Marcellus Township Wood Memorial Library Board that it would be a good idea for the library to have a 5-Year Plan for library growth and development.  The following excerpts, taken from library board meeting minutes from that year, indicate that the idea was a good one and the hard-working board members were ready for the challenge.


March 6, 1997: “(Library Director Christine) Nofsinger suggested we should have a long-range plan for the future of our library, maybe a 5 year plan.  Possible aims:  bigger building, automation and more millage.  There was enthusiastic response.  President (Carol) Huff will appoint a committee to start in summer.  Library staff will also consider plans and bring recommendations to the committee.”


May 6, 1997: “Library Director (Chris) Nofsinger reported on the Rural Library Conference that she and Mary Quinn attended.  Nofsinger said they came back with much information that they will be using for the future of the library.  One of the valuable workshops was Remodeling for better use of space. . . A space needs committee was appointed:  (Carol) Huff, (Kay) Ohlrogge, (Susie) Johnson from the board, and Mary Quinn and Kim Henritzy will be asked.”


August 7, 1997:  “Space needs:  (Susie) Johnson reported on meeting with architect Mr. Koster who will present a recommendation.  He will offer 3 different proposals.  The cost will be $4,000 if we have him draw up a final plan.”


September 4, 1997: “The space needs committee was reported on by (Carol) Huff.  They recommended bookshelves on rollers be built and work done on improving the lighting.  (Terry) Quinn moved and (Kay) Ohlrogge seconded we allocate $2,000.00 to build 10 units of bookshelves with volunteer labor.  Carried.”


October 2, 1997: “Library board members visited the workshop where Gary Nofsinger and Terry Quinn have been working on new shelves on rollers for the library.  Virginia Ransbottom was on hand to take a picture of the project with board members pictured giving a token use of sandpaper to the beautiful project which is all being done with volunteer labor.”   The photograph taken at this meeting accompanies this article.


An article in The Marcellus News on October 9, 1997 (probably written by Terry Quinn but the writer is not named in the newspaper), gives further background on the development of the 5-year plan and the improved use of space in the library.  The article also explains important decisions that were made to increase funding for expanded library facility and resources.


“Added Services/Rising Costs Lead To Library Millage Request,” The Marcellus News, October 9, 1997


“With the request of ½ mill increase (50 cents on each $1,000) for Library operating and improvement expenses being proposed to voters on the Nov. 4 (1997) Special Township Election ballot, a review of what the Library has accomplished in the past few years is as follows. 


“New Library Director Chris Nofsinger (began in this position in 1996), with the help of Library Board member Terry Quinn, has successfully pursued grants that have provided funds for the purchase of new library books.


“One of these grants has been a $20,000 federal grant for the purchase of non-fiction books.  With only half the grant used so far, the Library has already experienced an average 44% boost in the number of non-fiction books being checked out.


“The summer children’s reading program has been a factor in tripling the Library’s circulation and a $3,000 Upton Foundation matching grant for the purchase of children’s books will be an added incentive to the growing number of youth participation.  Other grants are still pending.


“The addition of public word processors, the Internet, and new reference books have attracted home schoolers as well as other new patrons.    And to accommodate the growing number of users, operating hours have been extended. 


“While increased services have attracted better participation, it has also increased the rising operating expenses.  All this has taken place, even though the Library’s millage has remained the same for over the past 20 years.  After the uneven library sidewalk has been repaired for the safety of the public, maintenance on the old structure of the building is inevitably needed in the near future.


“Instead of a costly addition to the Library to accommodate space for new books and patrons, the Library Board has accepted the advice of an architect to better utilize the room already provided.  The children’s area has been relocated to the upstairs and the non-fiction area has moved near the front desk.


“Since the beginning of September (1997) the Library Board has volunteered their time to hand-build new shelves for the expanding repertoire of books. Buying pre-made shelves would’ve cost the Library $8,000, but by purchasing $1500 worth of materials and building the shelves themselves, with the help of Gary Nofsinger of The Woodshaper and the back bone of Terry Quinn, they were able to cut the costs in half.


“The finished project has resulted in 10 new mobile shelves that provide 200 ft. of book space that are accessible from both sides.  Built on wheels, the shelves can be moved to accommodate special events and relocated with the ever expanding addition of books.


“The Friends of the Library have also done their share in providing volunteer services to the Library by such projects as providing grounds landscaping, helping with fund-raisers, and creating a local history section in the Library.


“Other individuals, businesses and organizations have pitched in to donate $2,000 of the $3,000 matching funds needed for children’s books.  The Marcellus Piecemakers (a local quilt-making group) has donated a hand-made quilt to be raffled at “Christmas in Marcellus” to help provide the remaining $1,000 needed to meet the grant.


“Volunteers can only do so much with what little they have before there comes a time when they can do no more.  That time has come.  The ½ mill request will be for a period of 3 years.  While those three years will carry us into the year 2000, your vote on Nov. 4 will determine if the Library grows along with the new century.”


Recently, as she reviewed notes for this article, Library Director Chris Nofsinger exclaimed, “We made a really big 5-year plan in 1997, laying out what we would do in the areas of library automation, millage, and building.  And we did it!  We did it all in five years’ time!”


Next week the story of the building will continue, followed by more information on the automation (from telephone to WiFi, card catalogue to electronic cataloguing and much more) and the underlying financial support that continues through grants, contributions and millage.