Library Supporters Pack Council Meeting 07 Mar 18

It was a crowd of 51 that filled the small spectator gallery to capacity at last night’s Thief River Falls City Council Meeting – to share concerns during the Public Comment Meeting of the Council Agenda.

At issue, the Thief River Falls Public Library and the administrator of the library – the Northwest Regional Library System; as more than 15 people stepped up to the mike; including former library workers, current library staff, staff at other libraries with-in the Northwest Regional System and library patrons.

Concerns were divided; but there was a common thread and we talked after the meeting with Thief River Falls Mayor, Brian Holmer who said it was clear “everybody wants our library to be successful, everybody has passion in it – we’re not going to jump the gun on anything.”

At the heart of the issue; the decision by the Thief River Falls Library Advisory Board to evaluate the city’s contract with the Regional System, how services are provided, how tax dollars are being spent and how other libraries operate.

That evaluation appears to have threatened Regional Directors, who used the library’s social media platforms to disseminate an advisory; suggesting the City and Pennington County were considering withdrawing funding from the system; decreasing or eliminating library services – a statement both the county and city have denied.

Comments were followed by a presentation by Kristi Hanson, the director of the Regional System, who outlined finances and spending with and without Regional Support.

After the meeting, Mayor Holmer said he is putting his faith in the Thief River Falls Library Advisory Board and saw no reason why the evaluation should not continue. No time-table has been established to complete that evaluation.