By Taylor Budzikowski | Echo
The Barton Rees Pogue Memorial Library in Upland requested a budget increase of 5 percent for the 2019 year in hopes of funding prized programming, library resources, and a larger building down the road.
The Upland Public Library currently has a budget of $68,000 per year, which is tens of thousands of dollars less than the budget of neighboring libraries in Grant County. The library hopes to increase its budget by $3,400 in 2019.
"We are struggling," Barton Rees Pogue Memorial Library Director Barbara Dixon said. "Everyone here is underpaid, and most of us have not had a raise in several years."
Dixon appreciates the work of her staff and the year-round programming that takes place at the library.
Yet, running a library has become more expensive as book prices rise at a rate that is not proportional to the library's budget that has not increased since 2017.
"I often wish the library were bigger and had more financial support," Faculty Adjunct Amy Peterson said. "In my opinion, it is one of the most valuable assets to the community in Upland."
The Upland community has embraced the small library and its resources, but the library is in dire need of monetary support.
However, the library has seen success despite its monetary shortcomings. During summer 2019, the local library had its largest Summer Reading Program participation yet with 234 kids, according to the Town of Upland Council Minutes from Aug. 7.
"Signing up for the summer reading program gave them great incentive to start the summer off with lots of books," Peterson said.
Peterson and her children frequently visit the library and participate in programming, such as the Summer Reading Program which offers incentives like Ivanhoe's coupons and TinCaps baseball vouchers.
The library is a valuable community resource and library programming often gives kids the nudge they need to start, and even love, reading.
"When I started here 14 years ago we were circulating 200-300 books a month," Dixon said. "Our average is now 2,800 a month."
The library has seen more circulation in June 2018 than the neighboring library in Jonesboro, Indiana saw in the last year. Dixon requested a Binding Review from the Town of Upland Council on Aug. 7, 2018 to increase the library budget and keep circulation on the rise.
An increase in budget will allow Dixon to obtain online resources for homeschoolers through a grant from Scholastic, digitize its print genealogy history that stretches back to the 1700s and replace outdated books.
In the future, the library may be moving to a larger renovated space in the old STAR Financial Building in Upland.
Each of these improvements to the local library require funds that Dixon is hopeful will be approved come February 2019. The Upland community and library staff alike anticipate the new year and their new budget.
"I love what I do, but if we do not get a little bit of a bump up in the budget here it is going to be really hard to continue," Dixon said.