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Keene Memorial Library

Keene Memorial Library

Tina Walker had good news about a book sale and a food truck fundraiser during the Keene Memorial Library Advisory Committee meeting.

Walker, the library’s executive director, estimated that the Friends of Keene Memorial Library’s annual book sale took in an estimated $10,000.

“We finished solidly,” Walker said. “We’re waiting for the official numbers.”

Walker told the Tribune that after expenses the Friends group should have about $8,500. Last year after expenses, the group had about $6,500, she said.

The 2019 sale took place last weekend at Christensen Field in Fremont. In the past, the sale was held at Fremont City Auditorium, but the location of this year’s sale was changed due to renovations planned at the auditorium.

Walker said the hope is to have Christensen Field be the permanent location for the book sale.

“It was really nice having it there,” said Shari Kment, committee member.

Committee members noted that lighting and parking was better at Christensen Field. It also allowed for more space in aisles between tables of books.

“The carts rolled so much smoother and it was easier to get stuff moved around. It was easier for us to put different things up,” Walker added.

Walker said next year a food fundraiser could be part of the event. Last weekend, Scooters, Starbucks and Milady Coffeehouse in Fremont all donated coffee during the four-day event and the friends group accepted donations.

The event is the Friends’ major fundraiser for the year so it can provide things for the library that are outside of its budget.

In the past, funds have been used to purchase furniture and support the Prime Time Reading program, author visits, the summer reading program and other projects.

Walker also noted that book sales at Dave’s Drive-In Liquor in Fremont brought in $7,900 during the last 12 months.

“He’s keeping none of it. He’s not taking a profit. He’s not charging us for his labor,” Walker said.

In April 2018, Dave’s Drive-In Liquor owner Jeff Rise began selling used books at his business with all proceeds going to the Friends’ group.

Walker said Rise knows what sells and can get used books from the library annex to sell at his business.

Walker announced that the Friends’ group won the “Chamber Member of the Month Award” for March through the Fremont Area Chamber of Commerce.

Earlier this month, the library and the Friends’ group also worked together to host the Omaha Food Truck Association’s Flood Relief Rally.

Three vendors — Dire Lion Grille & Chippy, Smokin’ Gunz BBQ, and Johnny Riccos Brooklyn Pizza — came to the community and served so many meals that they sold out.

The vendors made $3,600 and funds will go to five families in need, some of whom are library patrons.

“It was a good event. It was a good turnout,” Walker said.

“The food was good, too,” Kment added.

Walker added that plans are proceeding with a library lighting project. Walker said she talked earlier in the day with Jeff Shanahan, power plant superintendent.

“He had been misinformed that we did not wish to continue with our LED light conversion,” she said.

Walker said she assured Shanahan that the library is on board with the project.

“We have a few immediate areas of need,” she said. “Of the 16 bulbs in my office, six work and we have a ballpark of over 100 bulbs that are currently out. Hopefully, that’s back on their radar and they’ll be coming over in teams to work on it.”

She said if the city were not to move forward with the project, the library would need to hire an electrician to begin fixing broken ballasts because almost all of the bulbs that are not working are out because the ballasts are broken.

“It’s actually cheaper to switch to LED and get it done,” she said.

Walker and library board members talked last year about making the conversion to provide adequate light in the facility.

In August 2018, Walker said LED lighting would provide a cost savings, dropping the library’s $50,000 yearly lighting bill by 50 percent.

Walker also said she was told by Alley Poyner Macchietto Architects in Omaha, which worked on the pre-design phase of the planned library expansion project that if the library used the newest LED bulbs, they could be reused in the expansion.

The library expansion project is estimated to cost between $10 million and $12 million. A library brochure states there is already $3 million in bonds, city funds and A Trust funds. Other money for this project is expected to come from grants and fundraising.

In other business, Walker told committee members that she is updating information about the library in Article 7 of the City of Fremont’s Municipal Code.

The current information is quite outdated. For instance, it states that the city manages the library, reading room, art gallery and museum through the library board.

“I think when the library was downtown they had a couple of those things — before the Keene Memorial Library,” said Fremont City Councilman Mark Jensen, who attended the meeting.

The city doesn’t manage an art gallery or museum. Article 7 also refers to the library advisory board as a commission, which it is not. The annual report has been moved from February to April, which needs to be reflected in this part of the code as well, Walker said.

Walker believes Article 7 was written a long time ago and not changed.

“There’s a lot of things that are wrong,” she said, adding that the library is referred to by six different titles.

Walker said she would make edits to the information and present it at the next meeting. Board members received copies of the current Article 7 for review.

Once all the appropriate edits are made it needs to be presented to the Fremont City Council as an ordinance, she said.

The next library advisory board meeting will be at 3:30 p.m. May 20 at the library. These meetings are open to the public.

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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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