Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Clever library expansion entering new chapter

By: Brady Brite, reporter

Christian County Headliner News
Published: Friday, August 13, 2010 12:06 AM CDT
Clever Public Library officials recently signed the partnership with the Christian County Library Aug. 9, taking the next step toward a move to larger quarters.

Library director Mabel Phillips said the agreement is basically the same as the original partnership signed three years ago when Clever Public Library opened. The city will manage most expenses through the $180,000 endowment that started the library, while the county library system will pay for Internet and the 25 hours of operating wages.

Christian County Library Board vice-president Loretta Herman, left, and president Ken Barthelette watch as Clever Mayor Trisha Elam and county library director Mabel Phillips sign the Clever Public Library partnership agreement Aug. 9.

“We did add that the committee needs to be considering what they will do if the money runs out before people agree to add funding so we can afford a branch,” Phillips said.

The $180,000 endowment was given to the city by the Sims family a few years ago. Clever’s Board of Aldermen will continue to oversee the Sims fund. Clever Friends of the Library representatives will present financial statements and larger purchase requests at aldermen meetings.

The Clever library will move from its current, 325-square-foot location at the former fire department into a 1,200-square-foot unit in the Southwest Center business strip on state Route 14, across from the Dollar General.

Friends of the Library member Melissa Lockhart has repeatedly said that the Friends group is confident it can make the Sims fund last five years or more.

That confidence has been boosted by a variety of donations and free acquisitions. Lockhart said the library has saved thousands of dollars because of donated materials.

“It’s Christmas in August,” Lockhart said.

The biggest donation came from Warehouse 1, a Kansas City clearing house that recently started a program called “Giving Back.” Through an application process, area non-profit organizations can request needed items. The Clever Library struck gold when University of Missouri shelving units came up for donation through Giving Back. Twenty double-sided, free-standing shelves will now be a part of the library, when original plans called for wall-mounted shelves.

“That’s going to allow so much more books and reference materials we wouldn’t have had space for,” Lockhart said. “And we were easily looking at $2,000 or $3,000 just for single-sided shelves against a wall.”

Republic and Nixa’s school districts were another source of free acquisitions. Republic Schools, the library acquired a book cart, two computer desks and many chairs, Lockhart said, and Nixa gifted a circulation desk.

“It’s ended up being a wonderful, community-wide event,” Lockhart said.

Campbell Tile, a new Clever business, has donated its services for tiling part of the library’s floor, and Lockhart is hopeful a carpet business will do the same. Workdays are being scheduled for painting, sanding and staining materials like the shelving.

Library board president Ken Barthelette said the Clever library is “a win-win.”

“Almost weekly we have a story of a donation of some sort that will reduce costs and improve services,” Barthelette said. “People love the library and what it provides.”
Barthelette noted that the Clever library is also benefiting from the thousands of books currently in storage at the central branch in Ozark. Phillips has said that Clever’s library could receive up to 1,000 additional books because of Ozark’s space shortage and Clever’s expansion.

“There are people out there just like the Sims family who want to help increase literacy in Christian County on all levels and are helping daily to make it happen,” Barthelette said.

The new Clever Public Library is scheduled for a mid-October grand opening.