The entrance to the Taneyhills Community Library.

Taneyhills Community Library officials returned to the Taney County Commission on Dec. 16 to follow-up on their request for financial assistance from the county.

On Dec. 9, Taneyhills Community Library Director Marcia Schemper-Carlock shared plans with commissioners for the library’s proposed $75,000 construction project, which would update the front entrance of the building to be more handicapped-accessible. 

Schemper-Carlock explained that the building, which was designed in 1976, does not have an ADA compliant ramp. The small size of the ramp threshold causes problems for those with mobility issues and the roof isn’t connected to the gutters, which causes water to drip down onto the ramp and freeze in the winter time.  

In response to these issues, the library has been working with an architect, according to Schemper-Carlock.

“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,” said Schemper-Carlock. “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.”

Schemper-Carlock said that as the library serves the residents of Taney County, they were hopeful that the county would consider contributing to their project, which they have already raised $45,000 for. 

“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.

Following her presentation on Dec. 9, commissioners requested that Schemper-Carlock provide them with a breakdown of all the library updates and their individual costs from her contractor. Once they had time to review that information, they would seek a legal opinion from the county’s attorney, to find out what the counties legal ability is to donate to a nonprofit, before moving forward. 

In her follow-up address to the commission on Dec. 16, Schemper-Carlock said she had emailed the commission copies of the architectural drawings, scope of work and fees that had already been paid to the architect. 

She also spoke on two new opportunities that the library has been presented with to help serve the residents of Taney County. 

The first of which was the Taney County circuit court’s announcement that they would be implementing the state’s new Show-Me Jury online questionnaire system this month.

“Amy Strahan, the Taney County Circuit Clerk, has informed us that they will be rolling out an online juror qualification form,” she said. “Residents without a computer or internet access will be directed to the Forsyth Library or the Taneyhills Library to complete the online form.”

Schemper-Carlock also spoke on the library’s involvement in the upcoming 2020 census campaign that will begin in March.

“Taney County’s 2010 census response rate was very low. Karen Best, former mayor of Branson, is working to improve that,” Schemper-Carlock said. “The census team will be encouraging residents to complete the census online, rather than having feet out in the street, which is far more expensive. Again, residents without computer or internet access will be directed to our local libraries to complete an online form.”

After Schemper-Carlock’s address to the commission, Taneyhills Community Library Secretary of the Board and Head of Marketing Adele Groote also addressed the commission. 

In her speech, Groote spoke on the extra strain the library will be under when they have more people than they can accommodate come to fill out census forms, jury questionnaires and other government documents at the library. 

“The state of Missouri is expecting public libraries to support this demand,” said Groote. “Taneyhills is truly not capable of sourcing this extra need, and I venture to guess that it’s even more true for our Forsyth library. Both of these have to come up with extremely creative ideas to meet the expectations the state has now placed on us.”

Groote also explained to the commission that, even if people have internet on their phones, many of these government forms, and even job application forms, can not be filled out on there, which leads people without another internet option to come to the library.

“When you add these two new forms that the government’s going to require to be filled out on computers, well you can easily see how our system’s going to be overtaxed,” she said. “You all control the possibility of making this change for our libraries to step into the needs of our state and of our county. I ask you please in 2020 to consider seating a library board.”

As Schemper-Carlock’s and Groote’s addresses to the commission were not on the agenda, they spoke during the public comment section, ahead of the meeting. 

The commission shared no follow-up remarks and no official action was taken. 

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