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Library continues to seek new ways to serve community
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Magness Library understands the importance of drawing in a child’s attention. Anne Claire Bauer enjoys a drawing project at the library on Wednesday. - photo by Lisa Hobbs
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William and Walter Trebing attend Story Time at Magness Library on Wednesday. The siblings, along with other children, were then treated to craft time. Both activities are beneficial to a child’s development. To learn more about the library, see page 3A. - photo by Lisa Hobbs

Magness Library has been serving Warren County for more than 100 years.

The library’s roots began in 1913 with Woman’s Civic League of McMinnville member Mary Cunningham offering a public lounge for women and children and providing a few books they could borrow and return. Cunningham became its first librarian.

Since its humble beginnings, the library has continually expanded. Today the building is approximately 10,000 square feet. Within its walls are meeting rooms and areas for concerts and exhibits. Programs include story time, summer reading with free meals, and genealogy. 

To meet the technological needs of the community, also available is access to computers and laptops, free wi-fi, a copy/ fax machine, e-books and audio books.

Beginning in June a book club will be offered. Geared toward adults, members will meet to discuss a book or books they have read and express their opinions, likes, dislikes, etc. From discovering new to revisiting old favorites, the club will seek to provide a place for people to feed their love of reading and meet likeminded individuals. 

Library director Brad Walker says meeting the needs of the community comes at a cost. 

“I’ve requested a $10,000 increase from the county and a $14,000 one-time donation from the city,” said Walker. “The $10,000 will be added to the maintenance of effort to help bring our per capita up and give staff a raise. The library has 10 employees. Four of those make $7.35 an hour, three make $7.85 an hour and one, who has been with us 18 years, makes $8.50 an hour.” 

Warren County government provides the library $116,000 a year. That amount is set by maintenance of effort. There’s been no increase in 17 years. McMinnville government provides the library a maintenance of effort of $58,000. A $10,000 increase was given four years ago. 

“The MOE is a curse and a blessing,” said Walker. “It means the city and county must maintain that donation to a department or nonprofit under an MOE requirement. However, for nonprofits, that’s where the blessing ends. While departments still receive increases when they need it, a nonprofit does not. They have to give us the money for the MOE, be we rarely receive increases.” 

While the one-time donation from the city will be used to purchase new computers to replace old ones, says Walker, the MOE increase will go directly into salaries.

“The additional MOE from the county will be used to provide staff a raise. I’ve also asked the city to kindly consider upping its MOE as well, which will also be used for a salary increase. Everybody that works here does it because they love the library. That’s the reason I have employees. It’s definitely not for the money, but they still deserve to make more than $7.35, $7.85 and $8.50 an hour.” 

Warren County and McMinnville governments are currently considering nonprofit requests for the upcoming 2021-22 fiscal year. Walker has attended meetings of both governments with an impassioned plea for additional funding.