A 10-year-old state law allowing larger-county library systems to charge adjacent counties with non-consolidated libraries for the use of the facilities continues to plague Kewaunee County.
The county’s 2018 budget, approved Tuesday night, contains a $52,574 bill from Brown County for materials checked out of the Green Bay-based library system’s branches. Manitowoc County is charging another $856.
State law since 2006 has allowed consolidated public library systems, which are maintained and financed through the county, can bill adjacent counties that are not consolidated for library services.
Records show that 19,995 out-of-county library materials were directly checked out by Kewaunee County residents in 2016, and Brown and Manitowoc claim costs ranging from $2.85 to $5.08 per item.
Kewaunee County officials are again asking county residents to take greater advantage of the independent local libraries in Algoma and Kewaunee, or the library station at Nicolet National Bank in Luxemburg.
“If these materials were loaned out by Algoma Public Library or Kewaunee Public Library, there would be zero cost to Kewaunee County,” said County Administrator Scott Feldt.
The Kewaunee County Library Services Board has launched a marketing campaign aimed at raising awareness of the local cost for out-of-county library use.
Library Board members have been hanging up posters across Kewaunee County at local businesses, as well as handing out bookmarks with easy-to-follow instructions on how to request wanted materials online from local libraries by using www.infosoup.org. When residents utilize the search engine, they access their account with their library card number and pin and then search for the materials, i.e. books and movies that they would like put on hold or delivered to the Algoma Public Library or Kewaunee Public Library for pick up or brought to the library station in Luxemburg.
“We have two very fine libraries in Kewaunee County that serve our citizens in a very friendly and professional manner, and in my humble opinion our two libraries are two of Kewaunee County’s most valuable assets,” says Robert Entringer, president of the Library Board.
The Luxemburg-Casco School District also has opened its high school library for public use from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Monday-Friday. and from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday, the Algoma Public Library will be at Luxemburg-Casco Primary School to print library cards for residents during parent-teacher conferences.