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Monroe County Library Sees Increase In Library Card Applications And Online Program Use

The Monroe County Public Library saw an increase of library card applications during the summer. Library Director Sarah Laughlin attributed the sign ups to a summer collaboration with the Monroe County Community School Corporation.

Laughlin told the Board of Trustees on July 16 that the summer reading program was a success.

“We opened it up May 28, so as of June 30 we had 211 people register for Treehouse and 6100 video views that are part of the classes,” Laughlin says. “The first month’s traffic is really all library traffic.”

Laughlin highlighted an aspect of the website offerings called Treehouse, an online learning platform with a focus on the design and development of websites and mobile apps.

Laughlin said that an increased presence on the internet has paid off with increased library traffic as well as library card sign ups.

Monroe County Public Library To Change And Expand Hours

The Monroe County Public Library will be change hours starting on Labor Day.

The Library’s Board of Trustees voted June 18 to add two extra hours on Sundays, meaning the Library will soon be open from noon until 6 p.m. instead of 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Library Director Sara Laughlin said the administration has been wanted to expand Sunday hours for years.

“In 2012 when we did a community survey, what would you choose to change our services,” Laughlin says. “Number one, of course, was fix parking. But number three was expand weekend hours.”

Laughlin said the city’s parking meters also motivated the change. Parking is free on Sundays. To help offset the cost of the change, the Library cut an hour from its Friday schedule. It will open at 10 a.m. instead of 9 a.m. on Fridays.

The Board also voted to push back its schedule on Saturdays. The building will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays instead of 9  to 5.

The changes take effect September 1.

Monroe County Library Suffering From Paying Parking Meters

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Last week the Monroe County Public Library’s Board of Trustees discussed the negative effect parking meters are having on library patrons.

Board member Stephen Moberly referred to the library’s circulation numbers, which have declined since the downtown meters were installed in August.

“Looking at the chart, we had a slight decrease last year of half of one percent. This year, we had a 3.3% decrease,” Moberly said, “I think it’s attributed to one thing, though it may not be politically correct to say. The parking meters, I think, have been devastating to the library. You can come and see around the block that no cars are parked there, and there always were before because they were our patrons. Some retail merchants have closed and suffered because of the meters, but the library is suffering too.”

Board President Valerie Merriam says the library should tell the City Council and Mayor Mark Kruzan about what effect the meters have had. She says circulation hasn’t dropped this much in almost two decades.

“There is a general decline to everything that is related with coming in to the library,” Merriam said.

Moberly suggested that these are people that might not have the money to feed the meters, and that they should let city hall know about these concerns.

Library Director Sara Laughlin says she would convey those concerns to city officials. But Laughlin says she doesn’t have any short term solutions to reverse the effects.

“I think we’ve done what we can do in helping people find places to park,” Laughlin said, “In fact, I know that the parking finder page on our website is still one of the top pages on the site. Longer term, it would be great to have a second branch with lots of parking, otherwise we just can’t increase our parking capacity downtown.”

The library has also considered expanding hours on Sundays, when the city does not require drivers to pay the meters.

New Library Renovations Will Cost More Than First Anticipated

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A third phase of renovations at the Monroe County Public Library may cost as much as half a million dollars more than first projected.

That’s according to information put forward during a work session for the Library’s Board of Trustees on September 11.

A representative for the project’s architect, Christine Matheu, presented the cost estimates to the Board.

But before the financial discussion, Matheu went over a schematic design of the renovated Library.

“We have met with staff and special interests groups from the project,” Matheu says.

The renovations include the addition of a new teen center, which Matheu said would have a cafe area as well as a space for socializing.

“Current logic on these spaces is that you downplay the books and you up-play technology, social interaction and collaborative and creative work,” Matheu says.  “All these things  teenagers respond to in the way they learn and it’s a way to get this demographic back into the library.”

The renovated library is also planned to include a digital creativity center, including spaces for recording music and editing film.

“Right now we’ve planned for a recording studio and a performing space,” Matheu says, “This is primarily for musicians and filmmakers, and the media lab is for people collaborating together. “

When the Board approved the architect’s contract earlier this year, the estimated cost of the renovations was $780,000.

But the project designed by Matheu’s firm is estimated to cost somewhere between $1.1 and $1.3 million dollars.

Library Director Sara Laughlin said she likes the plan, and she has ideas about how to trim some of the costs.

But even if the cost is considerably more than was budgeted, Laughlin said there is still money to complete the entire project.

“Even if it’s the high number, we’re still $244,000 off for what we have set aside,” Laughlin says, “We have enough money to do the whole thing and have some left over. I think we should bite the bullet and do it.”

All the costs are rough estimates because the Library has not yet put the project out to bid.

The Board is scheduled to vote on the budget for the project at its regular meeting September 18.

Daily Local News – September 17, 2013

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A third phase of renovations at the Monroe County Public Library may cost as much as half a million dollars more than first projected; Tonight, local residents will be given an opportunity to participate in a debate on marriage equality; The Monroe County Citizens Academy is taking applications for this year’s fall seminars; Hunters in Indiana can expect another productive deer season in 2013, but probably not as productive as last year’s record setter.

FEATURE
“TASC” to Replace GED Testing in Indiana
Monroe County residents attending Adult Education Classes at Broadview Adult Learning Center, Crestmont, and Shalom Community Center have until January 1st to complete their General Educational Development test, or G-E-D, or else lose credit for what they have completed and be forced to start all over. The Indiana Department of Workforce Development, which administers Indiana’s high school equivalency program through its Division of Adult Education, has announced the selection of CTB/McGraw-Hill to provide a new high school equivalency assessment that will replace the G-E-D, the test currently in use. In today’s feature, Lauren Glapa interviews Joe Frank of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development, Division of Adult Education, about Indiana’s new T-A-S-C high school equivalency test.

CREDITS
Anchors: Shayne Laughter and Bill Daugherty
Today’s headlines were written by David Murphy and Yvonne Cheng
Along with Joe Crawford for CATSweek, in partnership with Community Access Television services
Today’s feature was produced by Dan Withered, with correspondent Lauren Glapa
The Ins and Outs of Money is produced by Jason Evans Groth
Our engineer is Harrison Wagner
Editor is Drew Daudelin
Our theme music is provided by the Impossible Shapes
Executive Producer is Alycin Bektesh

Daily Local News – August 22, 2013

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On August 20th an engineer for Monroe County called out the builders of the new Interstate 69 for using faulty strategies to prevent erosion; The Monroe County Public Library is advising patrons on how best to save money on parking now that most spots near the Library are metered; The ACLU has filed a class-action suit against the City of Indianapolis on behalf of four Marion county residents who were ticketed for panhandling; The United States and South Africa, two nations on opposite sides of the world, had much in common in the 1950s; With summer coming to an end it’s time to clean up Lake Monroe. The folks at Hoosier National Forest are offering an afternoon on the lake and an evening cookout for volunteers who want to help pick up shoreline debris left by this summer’s visitors to the lake.

FEATURE
ACLU takes on SEA371
Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky filed a lawsuit in federal court this morning challenging Indiana’s newest law regulating abortion clinics. Senate Enrolled Act 371, passed earlier this year, calls for facilities that prescribe and dispense abortion-inducing medications to have many of the same emergency and urgent care resources as hospitals. The bill affects only one facility in the state, Planned Parenthood’s Lafayette clinic, which has been in operation for 40 years, providing a variety of health care services for women. The portion of the bill covering non-surgical abortions goes into effect on January first. Betty Cockrum, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, says the expense of retrofitting the facility to comply with the law would be prohibitive. The law also specifies numerous “informed consent” statements clinic workers must make to women seeking the abortion pill. The women must also be shown sonogram images of the fetus in their wombs and must be advised the availability of adoption alternatives in the state. Correspondent Michael Glab spoke with Cockrum this afternoon in a WFHB Feature Exclusive.

VOICES IN THE STREET
Our weekly public opinion feature Voices in the Street hits the streets to ask what YOU think about local events and issues.

CREDITS
Today’s headlines were written by Mike Glab and Lauren Glapa
Along with Joe Crawford for CATSweek, in partnership with Community Access Television Services
Voices in the Street was produced by Kelly Wherley
Our engineer is Sarah Hettrick
Executive Producer is Alycin Bektesh

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