Taneyhills Community Library has submitted a verbal request for financial assistance to the Taney County Commission, to accommodate them with an upcoming renovation project.
On Dec. 9, Taneyhills Library Director Marcia Schemper-Carlock shared plans with commissioners for the library’s proposed $75,0000 construction project, which would update the front entrance of the building to be more handicapped-accessible.
“This building was designed in 1976, and that ramp area you see going up to the front is not ADA compliant. We have been having issues … with people with mobility issues, as well as parents with the big strollers getting into the building area,” said Schemper-Carlock. “There’s an issue with the threshold up at the top. Then the other problem that we have … is the roof isn’t connected properly to the gutters. So we have a continual problem with condensation dripping down on that ramp area, which that’s not a nice thing to be walking up the middle of the ramp and getting dripped on.”
Schemper-Carlock said that in the winter, condensation then on the ramp, causing a safety issue. She added that the library has been working with an architect to resolve some of these issues.
“What we have going here is we are going to have an awning installed to cover that walkway area, so that we can eliminate that condensation and the icing problems. We’re going to put handicap push buttons on the doors to make it easier for people with a scooter or with a walker or a wheelchair to get into the building.”
The construction updates would also include a set of stairs that would connect to the ramp to provide direct access to the front doors, some internal drywalling and the removal of some landscaping and an old deck attached to the building.
Schemper-Carlock said the library’s proud to say they’ve already collected $45,000 of the estimated $75,000 needed for the project.
“That has primarily come from private donations from individuals. We have targeted our membership. We’ve reached out to them and asked them to give us financial support,” she said. “We joke about the fact that we have a tip jar up there at our front desk, with this project outline there, and it’s amazing how many people will throw a couple bucks in there to help out with this project.”
Schemper-Carlock said, since the library is a community asset and they do serve the community within Taney County, the library was hopeful that the county would consider contributing to their project.
“I’d love to see you give 10% of the cost – $7,500. I don’t know if you have money in your year-end budget or if you can focus it in for next year,” said Schemper-Carlock. “In order for us to fund any kind of capital improvements for our library, we do need financial support above and beyond what we can raise in our thrift shop and our used book store and from library fees.”
In response to Schemper-Carlock’s presentation, Taney County Western District Commissioner Brandon Williams and Taney County Eastern District Commissioner Sheila Wyatt both said they felt like the estimated cost for the project was a bit high compared to the amount of work that was being done.
“I agree that is excessive for what we’ve seen. The $75,000 is,” said Wyatt. “Do you have a detail of what actually is going to be done? Because maybe there’s something we’re missing.”
Williams added that he was also uncertain if the county was even legally allowed to make a donation.
“If you don’t care to get us an itemized list of everything that is going to happen. We’d like to see that before we commit to anything,” said Williams. “I don’t know if we can legally give money to a not-for-profit.
“I don’t know the answer to that, so we need to discuss that and figure it out.”
During her presentation, Schemper-Carlock also said the circulation of the library has continued to rise.
“The investment that we’ve put back into the library has really paid off. Last year our circulation came in at about 75,000 items, and looking at the numbers from last month we’re already surpassed that (this year),” she said. “We’re going to come in 84,000 items.
“That is fabulous for a library in this area.”
The commissioners requested that Schemper-Carlock get them a breakdown of all the updates being completed and their individual costs from her contractor.
Once they’ve had time to review that breakdown they would seek a legal opinion from the counties attorney before moving forward.
No official action was taken on this agenda item.