MASON COUNTY — The community is stepping up to help the Mason County Library system, which has been hit in recent years with budget cuts.
Pam Thompson, county library director, said local residents continue to make donations for necessary items that allow the library system to spend its money on new books and other necessities. In addition, a local church has decided to help the Mason City Library after a room there was added, but little money remained to furnish it.
A children’s room was built at the Mason library with funds granted by the Robert and Louise Claflin Foundation, and was completed in the fall. The grant money was for construction, which left no funds for appliances in the kitchenette, or shelving for books.
The Mason United Methodist Church is holding a chicken noodle dinner on Feb. 18 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the church, with benefits going to the Mason library.
“I go to the library all the time, and so do other members of our church,” said Karen Johnson, one of the dinner organizers. “We know about the budget cuts, and that there was no funding to buy a refrigerator or stove for the new addition. We hope to raise enough money for at least one of those.”
Johnson said the dinner will consist of chicken noodles, mashed potatoes, green beans and a dessert for a minimum donation of $5 per meal. Eat in, as well as carry-out, will be offered.
The church plans to make the dinner an annual event, Johnson said, as a part of the church outreach program.
Thompson said other groups and organizations have been generous in making donations to the libraries, including women’s clubs, 4-H groups, and schools. She added one lady in Point Pleasant is good at using coupons, and uses them to buy crayons, pencils and other items used in the many programs the libraries offer.
Items donated stay at the library where they were donated, according to Thompson. Locations include New Haven, Mason, Point Pleasant and Hannan. The only exception, she said, is in the Bend Area when the libraries combine for some programs.
Towns, the county commission, and the state are all presently working on their budgets for the next fiscal year, and Thompson has been visiting some of them to ask the entities if they can’t increase library funding, to at least maintain it at the present level. She most recently addressed the New Haven town council.
While the library system receives money from the state, it must be matched locally, or funding is lost. Thompson said she is currently awaiting word from the state, but fears her budget might be cut.
In the meantime, items that can be donated by residents include trash bags (both industrial and kitchen size), hand soap and sanitizer, toilet paper, floor cleaner, dusting spray, napkins, paper plates, paper towels, baby wipes, disinfectant spray and cleaner, disinfectant wipes, ziplock storage bags in all sizes, tissues, bleach, and toilet bowl cleaner.
Available at each library, Thompson added, is a brochure titled, “17 Things You Can Do To Help Your Library in 2017.” It lists a number of ways to donate to, and volunteer at, the local libraries. She invites anyone interested to pick up a copy.
Thompson said rooms at each library are also available to rent, which helps pay utilities. While non-profit organizations can use the areas for free, individuals can rent the rooms for $30. The libraries can be reached at the following numbers: Point Pleasant, 304-675-0894; Mason, 304-773-5580; New Haven, 304-882-3252; and Hannan, 304-743-6200.
Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing who can be reached at email@example.com.