by Stacey Embry,
Director,
Morgan County Library
Part of my job is making the people of the community happy. This is not listed specifically in my job description; but, trust me, it is part of my daily duties. I recently visited with an individual in Morgan County who was unhappy with the services the library was providing. I freaked out at first, not to the said person’s face, but to my poor husband. I asked the person for specifics and he listed the lack of certain databases. Oh, he is right on. This area is not weak, it is currently non-existent.
Many moons ago, the library was part of MOREnet. The Missouri Research and Education Network (MOREnet) provides Internet connectivity, access to Internet2, technical services, resources and support, as well as technical training to Missouri’s public sector entities, including K-12 schools, colleges and universities, public libraries, health care, government and other affiliated organizations.
The library dropped MOREnet for a couple of reasons; the databases that were provided were not being used and we have access to internet service that is considerably cheaper. MOREnet was no longer giving us a good return on our investment. Currently, the public libraries of Missouri are looking for better ways to provide databases for our patrons. I might only have two patrons who are interested in a foreign language database; but if 25 other libraries each have two patrons interested, we are up to 50. If we share the database, we all benefit and we would be using our taxpayers’ money wisely.
That brings up another issue. I have shared how I feel about taxes. If you missed that Bookworm, it boils down to this: they are necessary and I am cool with them. I mentioned “good return on our investment” in the preceding paragraph. Morgan County taxpayers, the “Christmas card” Kathy Francis sends you every year lists where each of your dollars is going. The library is without a doubt a good, no, a great return on your investment.
I started the morning asking my husband how much we paid in taxes to the library. His reply, “It is no one’s business what we pay in taxes.” Okay. So, hypothetically, I know someone who paid $35.64 in taxes to the library in 2016. This person owns two tracts of land, a house, a shop, two utility trailers, two boat trailers, two boats, two boat motors, one motorcycle, and six vehicles. Good grief, if they have a problem paying taxes, maybe they should get rid of some stuff. No way, their taxes strengthen our community.
So, what kind of return does this family get for their $35.64 investment? In 2017, this family has checked out $495.35 worth of physical material from the library. John, I mean the husband, has listened to $236.74 worth of audiobooks on the library’s OverDrive resource. “The wife” has read over $199.47 worth of eBooks, also on OverDrive. More than likely, this family will pay similar taxes in the upcoming year. Let’s be honest, John will probably up that amount with a new truck because his wife boogered up his last one. Half the current year is down and we have received $931.56 dollars worth of materials for a $35.64 investment. That is a remarkable return.
This is where people say, “I don’t even go to the library.” Okay. I would love for you to visit us, but if you don’t want to, remember this: some of our largest checkouts go to the youth in our community. I looked up an account of a 12-year-old patron and, this year alone, she has already checked out $939 worth of items. Educating our youth by providing them with resources for literacy development betters our community, another great return.
I am trying to make my community happy, I really am. If you do not feel the library is a good return on your investment, then honestly I cannot help you. I would have to question why you even read this column. Wait a minute, your taxes pay my salary. I write this column as part of my job. You read it, if you read it every week.
For more information, visit the Morgan County Library, 600 N. Hunter, in Versailles; call 573-378-5319; or see the library’s website at morgancountylibrary.org. Library hours are 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.

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