People who live, work and visit the Waterford area are all aware of the difficulties local businesses have endured during these two years of construction. Navigating downtown Waterford has been challenging at best, and some have chosen to avoid the area altogether until the construction is complete. The effect on local businesses has been much discussed; however, how has the construction project impacted the library?
How Public Library Funding Works
The Village of Waterford taxpayers fund approximately 1/3 of the library’s operating budget. The majority of the remainder comes from county funding. Racine County reimburses Racine public libraries based on a complex formula, one part of which is based on circulation. Patrons who live in a community without a library of their own, for example, the Town of Norway, use whichever library is most convenient for them. If they check out items at the Waterford Library, the county will reimburse Waterford Library based on the “cost per circulation”. The Waterford Library’s total circulation has been steadily declining over the last two years, which is mainly contributed to construction. This construction project, while a necessary improvement to Waterford’s downtown area, has created an access barrier to the library. Simply stated, when there is confusion, as well as safety concerns, regarding how to access the library, not to mention actual roadblocks, people stay away. 2018’s circulation is what determines the county funding for 2020. The Waterford Library circulated 172,841 items in 2018, which was 11,646 lower than 2017’s circulation. This will result in $37,512 less funding from the county in 2020. This year’s circulation total is on track to be even lower, which will impact the 2021 budget cycle.
How Can You Help?
There are several ways you can help the library:
- Become a Friend of the Library. The Friends of the Library group offers several fundraisers a year to help the library pay for things that the budget doesn’t cover. They support extras like programming, the library bags we offer at checkout, and much more. The application to become a Friend is here: https://www.waterford.lib.wi.us/join-the-friends/
- Check out items at the library. Policies to make checking out items easier have been implemented since January in order to alleviate the burden from the construction. You can place holds for items online from home using the SHARE catalog, and pick up or drop off your items at The Pharmacy Station on Milwaukee Street in order to avoid driving on Main Street. All books and movies are fine-free this year in case you find getting to the library difficult due to the construction. Remember that the library offers more than just books and movies – hot spots, pre-loaded Kindles, educational kits, toys, craft kits and more are available to check out with your library card.
- Attend programming at the library. We offer between 30 and 40 programs a month to make coming to the library fun and educational. Children’s programs are offered both during the day and in the evenings, and are geared for a variety of age groups . Adult programming, such as financial planning, sewing groups, free movies, historical programs, and more are offered. You can view our online programming calendar here: https://www.waterford.lib.wi.us/programs-and-events/
- Donate directly to the library. There is a donation box located by the book drop inside the library. Or, donations can be sent directly to the library at 101 N. River St. Waterford, Wisconsin 53185.
Plans for the Future
The Waterford Library is looking forward to the end of this construction project–both for the improvements it will bring, as well as the access it creates. Although necessary, the construction has created a barrier to the library, which in turn has meant a negative financial impact. Library staff have been busy working on plans for next year and are committed to providing the quality services and programming to which you are accustomed. Stop in and see what we have to offer! After your visit, please consider taking a walk downtown and visiting one of Waterford’s wonderful locally-owned businesses. Working together, we can help downtown Waterford recover and become better than ever!