Bills may change library services

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By Janet Robb

TELL CITY - Tell City-Perry County Public Library Director Larry Oathout updated board members on several legislative measures at a March 4 regular meeting.

Senate Bill 348, which was passed by the Senate and is now in the House for consideration, received some amendments that broke down the original intent of the bill, he told members. The original bill called for a plan to provide universal access to library services but a referendum process was added for any unserved township to back out of the process and Marion County is exempt, he added.

In House Bill 1372, library services are given the authority to merge with another authority or nonprofit corporation to create a nonprofit corporation. It also requires free or reduced-rate cards for students who are not residents of a library district but are enrolled in a nonpublic school located in the library district.

Two bills, SB 18 and HB 1552, are dead, the director told members. HB 1552 addressed elected library boards and Oathout said it's probably "past its prime" and the issue will probably "stay dead." Even though SB 18 is dead, which dealt with free or reduced-rate cards, he said the wording was added to HB 1372.

Assistant Director Paul Sanders gave the board an update about other libraries' noise policies. Most libraries do have no-cell-phone policies, he said, adding that they either post a large sign which states the policy or library employees give offenders a card with the policy on it if caught. Board member Regina Parker said she would rather have a sign put up than have employees go up to people and give them cards.

In other business:

• The library purged 247 people out of the library system. These people have not used the library in five years, Oathout said.

• Since the Indiana State Library took over interlibrary loan duties the success rate for filling requests has gone from 88 percent to 91 percent.

• Oathout said he has asked Joan Hess with Catholic Charities for volunteers to help library employees with the influx of people coming to the library to fill out online unemployment forms.