Magness Library is asking for an additional $10,000 in its donation from Warren County, an increase to $126,000.
“I want to thank you for everything the county has done in the past for us and hopefully we can do more in the future,” said Bill Mullican, treasurer and trustee of Magness Library. “It’s been approximately 12 years since we’ve got an increase from the MOE (maintenance of effort) with both the county and the city, with some exceptions with the city.”
This year, library trustees are requesting an additional $10,000 from the county, as well as the city, for a combined $20,000. While the county’s donation has been $116,000, the city’s donation has been $48,000.
The information was presented to the county Education Committee on Monday with members Diane Starkey, chair, Morris Bond, Carlene Brown and Scott Rubley in attendance.
Mullican says Magness Library is one of the lowest funded libraries in the region and in the state.
“Warren County’s library is part of 11 libraries in our region,” he said. “We are the lowest funded, per capita, in our region which also includes Van Buren County. There are, I think, 175 library units in the state and we are 160th or something toward the bottom. The reason that we have been able to continue operating is, along with getting money from the city and county, trustees collect additional money from various sources, including grants and gifts. Our present budget is $60,000 in the hole.”
Magness Library had a circulation of 51,288 in books, e-books, DVDs, and other materials during the 2014-15 fiscal year. During that year, the library had 58,105 visitors and 17,106 people used the 32 public computers.
According to the written request for a donation, there are “many reasons for additional funds a primary need is for our employees.”
The library has two full-time employees: director, whose salary was recently increased from $27,000 to $33,000, and an assistant director, whose salary was recently increased from $19,400 and $24,400. It also has eight part-time employees who make minimum wage or slightly above.
Per the information provided, the director’s salary was increased because he graduated the Tennessee State-sponsored Public Library Manager’s Institute and learned Quickbooks to bring the finances in-house. The assistant’s salary was increased to bring her salary more in line with the rest of the state.
Committee members voted 3-1 in favor of sending the donation request of $126,000 to the county Budget and Finance Committee for its consideration. Bond voted against it, expressing a desire to remove the $10,000 increase.