Thanks to all who submitted questions to last night’s Moderated Community Forum, as well as those who attended. Also thanks to all the panelists who answered questions and helped provide valuable information regarding both school and public library services. Your input is invaluable in helping determine the future of library services in Pipestone.
Any questions or concerns should be addressed to your public officials as we enter the next phase and begin negotiations between the city and the district.
The negotiations committee consists of the following:
Jeff Baatz: Pipestone Area School Board
Brad Carson: Pipestone Area School Board
Dan Delaney: Pipestone City Council
Lance Oye: Pipestone Area School Board
Evan Schiller: Library Board Director and appointee of the City of Pipestone
Justin Schroyer: Pipestone City Council
In my capacity as the Public Library Director, I will continue to answer questions regarding the logistics of library operations or clarifications on anything I said at the forum. As such, I have already had quite a few people ask about the current employment of public library staff and the funds with which they are paid. I will provide a quick overview followed by the pertaining statutes as well as this link to all Minnesota statutes regarding public libraries.
Public library staff are paid for out of the public library funds.
These funds are required by law to be kept separate from all other funds and are under the express control of the Library Board.
All library expenses including staff salaries are paid for out of the public library fund.
Via the Public Library Agreement of 1993, the district is the public library’s fiscal agent.
So, while public library staff receive their paychecks from the district, their salaries and all other expenses are paid for by the public library fund. In the case of Meinders Community Library, the funding levels for 2021 were as follows:
134.11 ORGANIZATION OF BOARD; DUTIES. Subd. 2. Duties: The library board…shall have exclusive control of the expenditure of all money collected for or placed to the credit of the library fund, of interest earned on all money collected for or placed to the credit of the library fund…. All money received for the library shall be…kept separate from other money…and paid out only upon approval by the board.
134.195 LIBRARY OPERATED BY CITY AND SCHOOL DISTRICT. Subd. 9. Contracts: The library board may contract with the school board, the regional library board, or the city in which the library is situated to provide personnel, fiscal, or administrative services. The contract shall state the personnel, fiscal, and administrative services and payments to be provided by each party.
Monday March 14 from 6:30pm to 8:00pm at Meinders Community Library
A community forum is a place to ask questions and get answers from different perspectives. When they are moderated like the one being held on March 14 at Meinders Community Library, they have a neutral host who will help keep the question and answer session respectful and on track. The moderator is from Southwest Regional Development Commission.
The forum was organized by the Meinders Community Library Board which is comprised of both school and city representatives, while advertising for the forum was sponsored by Pipestone Area Friends of the Library. Panelists include representatives from the major stakeholders in the library (school, city, library board), as well as those with knowledge about library services such as the Plum Creek Library System and the current library director.
For those unable to attend the forum, it will be recorded by and played on the Pipestone Public Access Channel 3.
A quick history on what is happening and why a public forum was planned.
In 1975, the school and city entered an agreement that combined the school and public libraries. The purpose was to streamline redundant services and provide a better and more robust library experience for all while minimizing costs to taxpayers. The agreement was renewed in 1991 and again in 1993. It was also revisited when the new middle school and high school was built in its current location. At that time, the school board and the city council determined it was in the best interest of the overall community to continue the agreement.
On December 20, 2021, Pipestone Area Schools terminated the 1993 Public Library Agreement.
This agreement is set to expire on December 31, 2022. To date, negotiations on a new agreement have not yet started, though both the city and school have appointed members to negotiate on behalf of each organization.
While some aspects of the lead up to this forum have been reported in the newspaper, the termination of the partnership between the city and school has created more questions than answers.
This unbiased, 90 minute Community Forum is an opportunity for individuals to get factual answers to a host of complex and important questions regarding the future of library services for both school and public patrons. The panel aims to give a well-rounded look at the reasons behind the termination of the agreement and the impact this might have on library services for the school and public alike, as well as what steps are being taken to ensure continued, robust library experiences for all.
How does a public forum work?
Prior to the forum on Monday, March 14, individuals can submit questions to the library through mail, email, or in person. Questions received by March 7 will be compiled and distributed to all panelists so they can prepare responses. Questions received after March 7 will be brought to the forum and asked as time permits.
As possible, questions and concerns will be taken live from the audience during the forum itself, with each individual having up to three minutes to talk. The neutral moderator will keep things on track.
Panel Members are as follows:
Pipestone Area Schools: Kevin Enerson
Pipestone Mayor: Myron Koets
Plum Creek Library System Board of Governors: Evan Schiller
Meinders Community Library Board: Justin Schroyer
Meinders Community Library Director: Jody Wacker
Please use the form below to email your questions by March 7.
Before the snow flies, we’d like to post our yearly Inclement Weather reminder so patrons don’t make any unnecessary or unsafe journeys to the library.
When Pipestone Area Schools start two hours late, Meinders Community Library will open at 10:00am.
When PAS closes early, the library will close 30 minutes later. Please make safe pick up arrangements for your student prior to the first snow storm to avoid confusion and ensure your child is not left stranded.
If PAS is cancelled for the day, Meinders Community Library may also be closed depending on forecast, road conditions, and snow removal. Often, drifting snow on the northeast side of town makes our drive, parking lot, and sidewalks inaccessible.
Severe winter storms or blizzard conditions occurring on Saturdays or during school breaks may also result in library closures. As there are no school announcements during this time, following our blog or Facebook page will provide you with up to date information.
Closings will be posted as possible on the radio, the newspaper website, on our Facebook page, as well as our website. If in doubt, please call ahead.
Here’s hoping for a wonderful year with few snow days!
Thanks to the hard work and dedication of the Annual Kids Fishing Derby sponsors (and Tom and Erica in all their various hats), our community gets to finish out the summer with a bit of family fun. Join us at the Hiawatha Pageant Park Pond tomorrow (Thursday, August 19) beginning at 5pm for hands on not-quite-fishing fun!
Thanks to all the sponsors and volunteers that help make this a great community event for all to enjoy!
School is back in session, and with that comes a few exciting announcements and a few guidelines to help us ensure patron and youth safety for the upcoming months.
The best news: Plum Creek Library System received a collective grant that provides enhanced digital services to all PCLS patrons for the upcoming year. Thanks to the diligent work of the Marshall-Lyon County Library director and staff, these services will help round out the educational experiences for our community’s kids.
So, what new things are we offering at Meinders Community Library?
4 Hotspots: available for one week checkouts with an adult PCLS library card. We realize life is digital right now and hope that we can provide a bit of at-home connectivity. The one caveat is that these devices are only as good as Sprint services in our community, so we may need help mapping any blackout areas around town.
Early literacy, reading and STEM databases from Scholastic: the only requirements for these awesome platforms is a valid PCLS library card and internet connection. These online subscriptions pair fiction, non-fiction, activities, labs, and resources to dig deeper into vast and varied topics. Two of the platforms have content in both Spanish and English, while all can be used by parents, grandparents, home school families, educators, or patrons of all ages to enrich their understanding of the world around them.
BookFlix: prek-elementary level books and activities, read-along format option, some Spanish translations, and links for more information and activities
ScienceFlix: inquisitive elementary through middle school adult activities, videos, articles, experiments, and so much more. Seriously, I have spent hours hopping from one fascinating topic to the next and always learn something new. This platform is perfect for anyone wanting to explore and know more.
Watch & Learn: this video platform is a mash-up between BookFlix and ScienceFlix. Geared toward younger learners, the Spanish and English versions aim to build vocabulary and comprehension, while the Think Sheets provide the opportunity for youth to process and translate into writing what they saw and heard.
Extra OverDrive and RBDigital purchases: access a more robust catalog of middle grade and young adult audio and e-books with a PCLS library card and a digital device. Titles were purchased with an eye toward enhancing curriculum and encouraging leisure reading among middle and high school students.
Currently, 3rd and 4th grade student classrooms are housed in the middle school. Their drop off spot is on the south side of the building and will utilize the library parking lot. To help keep these little ones safe, minimizing book returns between 7:30 and 8:15am would be appreciated.
A quick reminder to those who don’t love a packed parking lot: school lets out at 3:15pm. Traffic increases both entering and leaving the school campus between 3:00 and 3:30.
Due to the new school parking lots, two exits enter the drive on the south/library side of the school. To help maintain effective traffic flow, all students should be picked up in the circle drive. No students should be picked up in the library parking lot, as this increases traffic congestion.
To minimize cross-over between asymptomatic youth and vulnerable public patrons, we are taking a wait-and-see approach for the next few weeks to gauge what, if any, impact a return to school will have on COVID-19 cases in our community. We will operate through Labor Day weekend with the following precautions in place:
Appointment only in-house use of library. This includes after-school use by students.
Continued curbside pick-up for any patron Monday through Saturday.
Continued open hours: Monday, Tuesday, and Friday from 11am-6pm, and Saturdays from 10am-2pm. This will be reassessed after Labor Day with an eye to expanding our hours to the public.
Adherence to the State Mask Mandate while inside the library.
Adherence to Social Distancing guidelines. Our floor is marked to help patrons maintain six feet of distance between themselves and other library users while waiting to check out. To help with this, we will operate only one check-out station.
We appreciate your patience and hope that the above guidelines will keep all our patrons reading, learning, and safe!
Over a dozen years have passed since we last updated our will. Silly when you consider that two of our kids have graduated…not only from high school, but also from adult things like colleges and marriages and home-owning and car-buying…and that our third will finish his senior year of high school in about a month.
That leaves one nestling still at home and a much-changed landscape from when we decided what a post-parent future would look like for our kids.
Grim thoughts in some ways, yet necessary ones when raising a family. But, COVID-19 not withstanding, we are at a completely different stage in our lives. We are now at a point where we need to consider our own health and the impact that serious illness or injury will have on those around us.
Add the pandemic and today, National Healthcare Decision Day, becomes vital to all of us on a variety of levels.
It gives us the necessary nudge to look past the clutter of everyday life and assess how best to handle our medical care and all the decisions related to it. From passwords to life insurance policies and contact information to critical care directives, this national day reminds us that a “junk drawer” approach to our health may not be the best option.
It’s true that most of us put off unsavory tasks. I know I have. A simple peek into my junk cupboard proves the point. I know where our severely outdated will is located. My hubby knows where our insurance policies are. My sister’s know my health directive dos and don’ts.
Unfortunately, our now-adult kids do not. And chances are, they are the ones who will have to navigate our home, our health, and our hodge-podge filing system.
Sadly, we are preparing for a quiet library for the first time in nearly 5 years.
As part of the Stay At Home Executive Order, we have been directed to close all in-house use while the order is in place. This means we can no longer accommodate any computer services inside the building until April 10 at the earliest. Our hope is to continue printing, faxing, and photocopying essential materials from a distance. This can include business invoices or documents and medical, insurance, or court paperwork. Please call us if you need to access this service.
Thankfully, the Minnesota Department of Education realizes that getting materials into the hands of the public is an essential service and will let us continue with curbside pick ups. How we do so may change slightly from the process we are following now. If it does, we will let you know when we talk with you about your holds.
Please help us help you in the safest way possible by following the guidelines below:
Return all items in the outside drop box (books) and media slot beside the door (DVDs, audio books, magazines). Wash your hands after doing so, as others will have touched the drop box.
Do not approach the library for your holds or returns if another individual is at the front of the library. This will maximize your social distance from each other and minimize contact.
Do not try to open the outside doors. They are locked and will not open. That said, you are probably not the first person of the day to try to open the door. If you find yourself reaching for it out of habit, wash your hands.
Call or email with any questions you have. We will do our best to provide you with the maximum service at the minimum risk to all involved.
Library hours are 11am-6pm Monday through Friday with no in-house use until April 10 or as directed by the MN Department of Education.
Getting a solid head count on who lives where helps the government disperse funds appropriately. According to our training on the 2020 Census, Minnesota receives $15 billion per year for programs such as Medicaid, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, and Federal Transit Grants.
Even your local library is supported by Federal dollars that are distributed to communities based on Census data.
An under-count of our population means fewer dollars for our area, leaving some programs underfunded. It can also mean decreased representation in Washington, D.C., and fewer businesses willing to move to town, thus impacting our economic health.
Counting every individual in our community is crucial. As a Questionnaire Assistance Center for the 2020 Census, Meinders Community Library can help you navigate the ins and outs of the Census.
As the Census can be filled out online, we are hosting an informational session tomorrow night from 6pm-8pm. During this time, any community member can stop in and ask us questions about how the Census will work, what information you will need to fill out the Census, and why completing the Census is important to your community.
In addition, we will help you navigate the internet so you can be prepared for answering your Census online. This may include finding the right website, learning how to access information in a variety of different languages, or basic computer use such as using a mouse.
If you know anyone who could benefit from advance help with the Census, please share this information. Over the next six months, we will continue to host sessions and provide updated information to help make sure that our community is counted.