Posted: Thursday, July 19, 2007, 5:02 pm
At its July 17 board meeting, the Worthington Libraries Board of Trustees approved a resolution to appropriate funds to open a storefront library in the Worthington Park shopping center. The new Worthington Park Library will occupy 5,280 square feet of space in the shopping center, near a grocery store and within walking distance of Worthington Park Elementary School.
Worthington AM Rotary President Bill Lehner and immediate past-president Dan Srsic attended Tuesday evening's board meeting to present the Library with a check for $5,000. This money will be used to support the cost of establishing a Homework Help Center in the new Worthington Park Library.
The Homework Help Center will provide students with access to people who can help them with their homework, both library staff and volunteer tutors, as well as reference tools and technology. Because it will be unique to the Worthington Libraries system, the Homework Help Center will be utilized both by students who live in the northeast area and throughout the school district. Located in a designated area of the library, the center will have no less than five computers dedicated to student use from 3-6 pm on Monday-Thursday (computers can be used by other library patrons when the Homework Help Center is closed).
Rotary Club President Bill Lehner stated, "By providing financial support to the Homework Help Center, we hope to make a positive impact in the lives of students in the northeast area and to help the Library further its mission of encouraging all residents, especially children, to become lifelong learners. The Worthington AM Rotary Club is pleased to be affiliated with the Library, and I encourage other businesses in the community to consider making a contribution to this facility."
In addition to its focus on providing students with homework help, the Worthington Park Library will offer a popular reading library of bestselling fiction and nonfiction, a large children's collection and several computers for public use, providing Internet access, children's computer programs and Microsoft Office software. This branch will function as a third location for Worthington Libraries and will appear in Discovery Place as a location for pick-up and drop-off of patron reserves, providing patrons with access to over 3.6 million items. The Worthington Park Library will be fully staffed and open 70 hours per week, duplicating the schedule at Old Worthington Library and Northwest Library.
Library director Meribah Mansfield said, "Establishing a library to serve patrons in the northeast area of our service district is something I've been working on for the last 15 years. I'm thrilled that we are finally able to move forward with this expansion of library service, and can't thank the Worthington Am Rotary Club enough for their support of the Homework Help Center. It will make a tremendous impact on the lives of students in the area and throughout the district."
Worthington Libraries is negotiating a five-year lease on the storefront property. The one-time start-up cost for this new facility is $608,684, with a projected 2008 operating budget of $566,888, including the cost of leasing the space.
The Worthington Park Library project is made possible through additional state funding. Under the new state budget, public libraries will receive 2.2% of the state's General Revenue Fund tax receipts (instead of 5.7% of the state income tax). This represents a slight annual increase (after funding was frozen for several years) that will ebb and flow with the economy. This will generate enough additional revenue for Worthington Libraries to open and operate the storefront library without significantly impacting the life of its current levy. The Library would still have a positive fund balance at the end of 2018, which was the promise made to voters during the 2005 levy campaign.