July 10 – Clint W. Murchsion, Henderson County’s Memorial Library Librarian Michelle Zenor, told Henderson County Commissioners Court Tuesday that her department had weathered the past year through COVID-19 and is picking up speed for 2022.
Zenor was the first department head to give a presentation to the Commissioners Court during the first budget workshop of the year.
“There are more than 12,000 Henderson County Library card holders,” she said. “About 20% of them are children.”
Zenor said the library is only a fraction of the county budget each year. Only $ 3.86 on a typical taxpayer’s annual bill goes to providing library services to all members of the household.
Joint support from the four district libraries accounted for around 1% of the general fund’s income.
She’s asking for a little more salaries for her part-time employees and a $ 6,000 increase for books and book updates.
Three full-time and four part-time employees in the department combine 77 years of library experience. Volunteers also logged 569 hours in 2020.
Last year around 40,000 copies were borrowed from the library. The library hosted 113 live programs and virtual programs received 4,500 views.
“People come to the library for help with computers, WiFi, printing, scanning, faxing, and notary services,” said Zenor.
Library staff have seen an increase in the use of electronic books and Zenor has requested a $ 6,000 budget increase to increase availability. In the past year, more than 13,000 e-book checkouts were recorded.
“The increase was dramatic during the COVID crisis,” she said. “E-books are no longer considered experimental. They are a core part of an accredited public library and it is time they were included in the library budget.”
The library has had e-resources since 2014, but these are financed by the Public Libraries Fund, which comes from donations from citizens and librarians.
“I want to praise you in principle,” said District Judge Wade McKinney. “You and the staff have done a fantastic job over the past 15 months with the pandemic. I dare say the services were more important during this time.”
Zenor said an important service the library provides is helping people apply for jobs online.
People who have never had a computer or email account may come to apply for a position that only accepts online applications.
“It can take 90 minutes for a library clerk to help someone apply,” she said.
Zenor said maintaining accreditation was critical to the library’s success. That is already assured for next year.