Keene Library

Accreditation, plans and projects were discussed when Keene Memorial Library’s advisory board met Monday.

Tina Walker, library director, said she’s waiting to hear from the Nebraska Library Commission if Keene qualifies for accreditation and at which level. Accreditation is based on a system of accrued points.

“It looks like we’re barely making bronze this year, which is the lowest level, because of the answers to questions in the survey,” she said.

Survey questions addressed ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliance, staffing and reviews of plans.

The elevator, stairs, bathrooms and entry ways are not ADA compliant at this time, however, there are plans for expansion and remodeling of the library.

Compared to peer libraries, Keene also is below average in staffing. It has 12.85 full-time employees compared to the average of about 13.5 due to staff cuts in previous years.

Because the library didn’t have a director in place until Walker came in 2016, reviews of strategic and information technology plans were not made.

“When we’re re-accredited in three years that will be fixed,” Walker said.

Walker noted that a proposed budget cut could have hurt the library and halted the accreditation. Walker cut more than $100,000 from the 2017-2018/2018-2019 biannual budget of $2.6 million, not including the capital improvement plan.

The city then sought to have the library make another cut of $50,000 from its commodities budget, which includes items needed to keep the building open and provides funds for books and materials.

Walker was concerned that cutting funds to buy books and materials could affect the library’s accreditation with the state library commission — and that Keene might not receive accreditation at all.

That cut, however, will be covered.

During a September meeting, Jeff Hoffman, expansion project committee chair, said the city council has committed to pay the architect fees for the library expansion project.

He recommended that up to $50,000 be transferred from the architectural fees allocation into the commodities portion of the budget.

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“So if you need to spend it you do, but with that understanding that either with fundraising dollars from the Friends (of the Keene Memorial Library organization) or going back to the city council and asking for approval and spending more, then we could cover those fees in another way or through delayed billing of the architect,” he said.

Advisory board members supported the recommendation.

In other business on Monday, the board talked about future events at the library.

Theodore Wheeler of Omaha, author of “Kings of Broken Things” will give a presentation on his book, have copies for sale and autograph them.

The presentation starts at 2 p.m. Dec. 2.

Matt Leatherwood, author of “The Perfect Stone,” will talk about his book during Storytime, starting at 11 a.m. Dec. 16. He will have books available for sale and autograph them.

Santa and Mrs. Claus will make a guest appearance from 2:30-3:30 p.m. Dec. 23. Children will be able to make Christmas ornaments. There will be drawings for stockings.

Walker also said city crews repaired concrete and a drain in an east parking lot and made repairs to a sidewalk leading to that lot, which will prevent slipping and injuries.

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News Editor

Tammy Real-McKeighan is news editor of the Fremont Tribune. She covers news, features, religion stories and writes the weekly faith-based, Spiritual Spinach column.

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