The Archbold Community Library Board opted to pursue legal action against two patrons who have unreturned materials.
A vote on the issue was held at the Wednesday, March 9 board meeting.
Joyce Klingelsmith, library director, said the library had received judgments against the two patrons for unreturned materials.
The next step would be a court action known as a “debtor’s exam,” in which the court calls in the debtor and goes over the financial situation to determine if payment is possible.
The court can seize money from a debtor’s bank account or paycheck to resolve the debt.
Together, Klingelsmith said the two patrons owe more than $500 to pay for the missing materials and fines.
One patron owes about $350, the other, a little less than $200.
Scott Haselman, Fulton County prosecuting attorney, has been handling the case.
Klingelsmith said he told her pursing the matter would not be “a waste of the court’s time.”
Gerald Short, a board member, asked if the two would return the materials, could the matter could be resolved?
Klingelsmith said the two had been given “ample opportunities” to contact the library and work out some kind of arrangement, “short of me going to their door.
“They have not responded, period,” she said.
Jed Grisez, a board member, asked about the cost to pursue the action.
Klingelsmith was unsure of the cost, but said, “to me, it’s not about the money anymore.”
After voting to proceed, Jay Budde, president, said going forward with the debtor’s exam is “the right thing to do.
“We don’t want the materials of the library mistreated.”
Klingelsmith said she had applied for a $2,000 grant through the Ohio Historical Records Advisory Board.
The money will be used to digitize microfilmed back issues of the Archbold Buckeye in a digital database.
The database would allow a name or a word to be entered, and a computer program would find references to that word in the newspaper.
The company that would provide the service would set up a link to the database on the library website.
The grant requires a local $2,000 match, so the library would be responsible for half of the total $4,000 cost.
In addition, there would be a one-time $300 fee.
Klingelsmith said there are about 104 rolls of microfilm. The records reach back to 1893 with the Archbold Herald, the first newspaper started by W. O. Taylor, founder of the Archbold Buckeye.
However, she said the early printing was of poor quality, and the company can’t successfully scan the pages.
Unless optical scanners can recognize 90% of the words, the scan can’t be completed.
From about 1900 on, the quality of the printing improved to the point where it can be scanned.
Klingelsmith said $4,000 would be enough to scan about 45 to 50 rolls.
She wasn’t sure what years would be scanned first; additional years could be scanned later.
She said she had talked to Ross Wm. Taylor, third generation publisher of the Buckeye, who had granted permission for the library to digitize film up through 2007, when the Buckeye began putting digital issues on the Internet.
The board approved the permanent budget for 2016 of $472,415.
Jennifer Harkey, library fiscal officer, said the Ohio Public Library Fund, one of the library’s sources of revenue, is up. She said it’s estimated the library will receive about $231,000 from the PLF.
The PLF is a small percentage of all revenues received by the state of Ohio in a fiscal year, which is then distributed to libraries across the state.
PLF funding was cut during the Great Recession years.
In 2015, the fund returned $22,000 more to the Archbold Community Library than originally anticipated.
The board also voted to approve membership in NORWELD, the Northwest Ohio Library District.
Klingelsmith said she didn’t know the exact cost, but she doubted the $1,500 fee had increased.
She noted NORWELD had been cutting costs, including laying off its technology person.
Library websites are now handled by a third-party firm through NORWELD, rather than NORWELD directly.
In response to a question from Budde, Klingelsmith said the library gets discounts of 44% on hardcover books, along with discounts on supplies and other items, through NORWELD.
All library board members were present, and all votes were unanimous.
The next meeting is Wednesday, May 11, 7 pm, at the library.–David Pugh