— DANVILLE – School board members approved a $16,000 donation to the Thomas Beaver Free Library at their Dec. 2 meeting.
The vote did not come without debate, however. All present members voted for the donation except Joe Stemm, who voted against it. Stemm said he appreciated the contributions the library makes to the community but felt the money would be much better spent on district technology. These are not the days of paper any more, he said.
Board president Allan Schappert said he was trying to discount his own nostalgia for libraries when casting his vote, but he realizes that literacy is the heart of education.
“I don’t know what the right thing to do here is, but … this is certainly one that seems worthy to me,” he said. “I think for the greater good of our community and students and the youth of our community, many of whom aren’t affluent … the library does provide a valuable resource.”
Library director Bonnie White spoke at the meeting on the services her organization provides to the district. The library is not only a source of paper books, there are also electronic and audio books that library members can check out. In addition, several learning programs are available at the library via computer, such as Mango Languages, which can teach users foreign tongues including Chinese, Spanish and Hebrew.
Also available through the library’s website is a service called Tumble Books, which are animated picture books that cover fiction and non-fiction topics.
The library needs to at least make an effort to reach the same amount of community funding that it collected the previous year, White said. “If we don’t, that’s when they can reduce our state aid.”
The state usually supplies about $55,000 to the library.
“We will not have a library if we do not get this local support from school boards, commissioners and townspersons,” she said. Including the school district’s donation, the library has raised $17,100 so far for this year. Their amount raised last year was about $21,000, White said.
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