Top Ten Ways to Use DDL on Vacation or Staycation during Spring Break

Spring Break is almost here! Whether you’re planning to travel with your family , or stay home and “staycation” your DeWitt District Library (DDL) card gives you access to great resources that will most certainly enhance your Spring Break activities. Here is our top ten list of ways to enjoy DDL at home or on the go…all for FREE!maxresdefault

#10. Check out music from DDL. With over 550 albums in our collection, you won’t have to listen to the same song over and over, unless you want to!

#9.  Read digital magazines from Flipster.  Use any one of your mobile devices to take the latest issues of our most popular magazines with you in the car, on the plane, at the beach, or on your back deck!

#8.  Borrow some movies.  Need a little quiet time in the car? Check out a few kids’ DVDs that you can’t recite by heart…yet.  Need a stay-cation movie night? Pop the popcorn and enjoy one or more new DVD releases.  With over 4,500 movies in our collection…there’s a movie for you.

#7. Listen to engaging Audiobooks. We have more than 2,500! Download and listen to MP3 audiobooks from our Digital Library, or come checkout our collection of audiobooks on CD!  Audiobooks provide hours of entertainment and with selections in children’s, teen and adult, you’re sure to find a story that everyone will love.

#6. Make Teen Fandom Crafts. Drop your teens (6th grade and up) off at the library to to create fandom swag and discuss with other teens the stuff they geek the most.

#5. Go on a Library Scavenger Hunt. Work together with your family on Tuesday, April 5th to find the answers to our Library Super-User Scavenger Hunt and win cool library swag from our treasure chest!

#4. Play Life-sized Candyland with the whole family. Visit the library on Wednesday, April 6th between 11 am and 3 pm to step into a life-sized version of this much loved children’s game where you and your family become the game pieces.8b621ed2d4778f4e5e2c834187a738c0

#3. Zoom through Tape Town.  Children ages 2 – 8 years old and their caregivers are invited to bring their Hotwheels and other Matchbox cars and trucks to the Woodruff Annex for a day of driving fun.  On Thursday, April 7th from 10:30 am to 1 pm the entire floor space of the annex room with be taped up with roads and designed to look like a miniature city.

#2. Learn a new language! Prep for that overseas vacation you’re planning for next year or just impress your co-workers and classmates by learning a new language with Pronunciator our online language learning program.

#1. Read a book (or two, or three). Whether you’re riding in a car, plane, relaxing on a beach, or snuggled up at home…reading is a great activity. Check out books at the library, or download or stream them to your e-reader device.

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August 5th Election

At the April 17th  Library Board meeting, the Library Board of Trustrees approved the millage request for the August 5th election.

Here is the millage request as it will appear on the ballot:

Library Millage Proposal

Shall the DeWitt District Library, County of Clinton, levy an amount not to exceed .9998 mill ($.9998 on each $1,000 of taxable value) against all taxable real and tangible personal property within the DeWitt District Library District for a period of fifteen (15) years, 2014 to 2028, inclusive, of which .4998 mill is a renewal of the millage rate that expired in 2013 and .5 mill is new additional millage, for the purpose of providing funds for all district library purposes authorized by law? The estimate of the revenue the DeWitt District Library will collect if the millage is approved and levied by the Library in the 2014 calendar year is approximately $646,000.

Since 2008, the library has lost 12% of its’ revenue due to declining property taxes as well as additional reductions in penal fines and in aid from the State of Michigan.  These reductions in conjunction with rising operational costs (utilities, technology costs, health insurance, etc) have made it difficult for the library to operate on the .4998 mill it has been levying for the last 15 years.

If the millage passes, the Library Board plans to immediately restore library hours of operation, allowing us to be open every morning and every weekday evening Monday through Thursday.  In addition, we will purchase more new books and bestsellers and will offer more storytimes and programs for children, teens, and adults.   The additional revenue will also make it possible for the library to do needed repairs to the building such a repaving the parking lot and repairing brickwork around the building.

Library?

In the last five years, DeWitt area voters were twice given the opportunity to build and fund the operation of a new State of Art Library on DeWitt Road. The message was clear: voters do not see the need or are unwilling/unable to pay for the type of Library typically found in communities of our size.

Despite the failed millage, the needs of the Library and the community it serves remain unchanged. The current Library on Schavey Road is 6400 sq. ft and is not large enough to provide adequate services to our community. We have one public restroom for the over 6,000 people who visit the Library each month. In 2010, the Library was required to re-work the sewer lines from the building to the road because the structure was never intended for the amount of use it currently receives. The fire code on our public meeting room is 12 which is not sufficient for the more than 20 children and their parents who come to the multiple story times offered at the Library each week. For each book or item added to the collection, another must be removed because Library shelves have reached capacity. Parking is limited and there is no additional space for more public computers or more comfortable seating for those who wish to sit and read.

Additionally, the current operational millage of .5 is not adequate to operate the library at its most basic level. While the DeWitt District Library has levied the same amount for the last 15 years, changes in the economy have caused the .5 millage rate to generate significantly less. The Library has lost 10% of its revenue in the last 5 years and is currently one of the 5 lowest funded Libraries (of any size) in the state. Library staff have worked to be as efficient as possible, utilizing more than 1000 hours of volunteer help each year.

The Library has no technology staff despite having a very complex network and computerized card catalog system. There are also no custodial or maintenance staff. Employees or volunteers wipe down tables, clean toilets, vacuum floors, trim trees, and clean flower beds. The Library has already reduced hours of operation by 14 per week, cut staff, and lowered the book budget to less than 50% of what it was five years ago. Library circulation has dropped 8% each year for the last five years. Some would argue that the drop in circulation is proof the Library isn’t needed. I would challenge that the drop in circulation came immediately following our cuts in hours and material purchases. How can the public use the Library if we are not open when they need us to be? How can the public check out books if we cannot afford to buy what our patrons want? With fewer open hours, fewer materials, and fewer staff to offer customer service….the DeWitt District Library is slowly dying.

As a Library Director, one of the questions I am most frequently asked is whether or not the Library is becoming obsolete. Why are Libraries necessary with so much information available online? Are e-books causing the Library to die? In truth, the future of the public Library has never been more bright. The modern Library is much more than a warehouse for books. Libraries are needed for information, for public meeting space, as a safe gathering place for teens, for literacy, for small business development, computer usage, research, quiet study, technology instruction and as a provider of digital information and e-books. If anything, Libraries are or can be (with public support) more relevant than ever.

2014 is an important year for the DeWitt District Library because our operational millage is up for renewal in August. If the millage fails, the Library will have one more chance on the November ballot. If the millage fails in November, the Library will close in 2015 for lack of funding. The Library needs to hear from residents about the kind of Library the community wants, and more importantly about the type of Library the community is willing to fund.

To determine the needs and expectations of the public before this election, the Library Board has developed a survey which will be mailed to a random selection of registered voters in the Library District. As a resident, you may be receiving this survey in the mail. If you do, I urge you to respond. Having a high response rate to this survey is critical to assist the Library Board in the decision making process. If you do not receive the survey, please visit the Library website and/or this blog in the near future for additional ways to share your thoughts. The Library Board will utilize the information/data gathered from the survey to make a decision about what to place on the August ballot.

The DeWitt District Library is a quality of life institution and should reflect the needs of the community it serves. Thank you for helping us determine its future.