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Timberland officials weigh in on potential library

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Timberland Regional Library Director Cheryl Heywood (background) shares with community members the steps needed to bring a library to Toledo.

Officials with the Timberland Regional Library District were on hand to answer questions during a meeting of the Vision:Toledo Business Association May 29.

Held in the old Toledo pharmacy building, which owners Pat and Bill Caldwell have offered the community as a library, Timberland Director Cheryl Heywood said the first step toward establishing a local library service point was for voters to approve annexation into the library district this November. Currently, community members living outside the city limits are already part of the district and subject to a $0.415 per $1,000 property tax, but Heywood said these payments entitle those living within the district access to all resources and databases available through Timberland libraries, as well as their partners throughout the state.

While approval of annexation does not equal approval of a library, she added, is it a necessary step before the district can begin their analysis of how best to serve Toledo.

Looking at several different factors, including community enthusiasm, proximity to other service points and available facilities, Heywood said a number of options exist apart from a full-fledged library, including a more conservative library kiosk where members can access the internet and pick up or drop off reserved items from a small facility staffed by volunteers.

Potential upgrades to existing facilities may also become costly, she said, stating architects would be tasked with evaluating a building’s uses and needs should studies show a full library was warranted. As an example, she said a recent renovation to establish a library in Morton was estimated to cost around $80,000, but said she did not have figures for a building and community equivalent to Toledo’s.

Community members at the meeting seemed to feel a full library was still an ideal option and, after asking Heywood what they could do to best bring about such a result, were told to continue showing strong community support and to ensure local voters understand the pros and cons of voting to annex into the district.

Members of Vision:Toledo and local business owners gather at a meeting of the Business Association held May 29 at the old pharmacy building owned by Pat and Bill Caldwell. The venue was changed from the Morgan Arts Centre to showcase the building to visiting officials from the Timberland Regional Library District, whom community organizers hope they can partner with to turn the building into a library.

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