It looks like there are happy endings after all when it comes to small-town government budget austerity stories.
No one was happy about Clarkdale’s decision to close down the town’s library, effective June 30.
But it looks like that harsh decision was a wake-up call for the community. Library supporters have been quick to point the finger of blame at town staff and council members for what they contend was a systematic effort to eliminate the library.
Those same people could stand to take a look in the mirror and honestly ask themselves how they, too, let the library down. Private fund-raising support for library operations in Clarkdale has been sadly lacking. Basic use of the facility is also suspect as various reports show more Clarkdale residents prefer to use the Cottonwood Library over the one in their own community.
Now, it looks like the Clarkdale Library is going to get a second chance.
On the table is a three-pronged agreement that would see the Yavapai County Library District take over operations of the Clark Memorial Library, and provide funding for a 24.5-hour per week Library Manager, plus basic operational expenses.
The Town of Clarkdale will provide the building, and cover the cost of utilities and normal building maintenance.
The Friends of the Clark Memorial Library will have the responsibility of raising funds annually to cover the cost to purchase new materials. The Friends group also could direct funds to support other library programs.
Should this plan come to fruition, the library staff and Friends group will need to constantly and consistently be in a marketing mode to make local residents realize their library is a vital community resource. The library will need to be innovative in its programming and offerings. Careful attention should be given to hours of operation so the library is available to patrons based on community need instead of what is convenient for staff.
If all the puzzle pieces fall into place, the Clark Memorial Library is going to get a second chance.
More importantly, the community is going to get a second chance to do it right this time.