Library solution: Hancock School contracts with PLDL

Kali Katerberg/Daily Mining Gazette Inside the Hancock School Public Library which will soon by managed by PLDL, improving offerings and hours.

HANCOCK — The district’s public/school library funding and service woes may be alleviated, following a contract with the Portage Lake District Library (PLDL).

The contract was approved by PLDL and the Hancock School Board Wednesday and will place the Hancock Public School Library under PLDL’s management for a period of three years.

Under the agreement, the Hancock library will have regular public library hours, whichi includes least 12 out-of- school hours, an increased materials budget and include children’s programming.

However, as eligible Hancock library patrons that live within the district do not fund the PLDL’s millage, the agreement does not grant free access to the PLDL itself to those not contributing funding, said Dillon Geshel, PLDL director. The services at the Hancock library will be expanded but more stripped down than those at the main PLDL library. The soon to be five-days-a-week operation is still having the details hammered out.

The oversight officially begins in November with both organizations seeing the arrangement as win-win.

“I see it as an opportunity to expand services for our community members. I’d love to see a more consistent level of library access and services throughout the area and this is sort of a step in that direction,” said Geshel.

For the district, it’s an enhancement of services for the community. After the three-year contract ends, the district will reevaluate the program.

“This is one of those things, I really don’t see a loss in this equation, which is a rarity,” said superintendent Kipp Beaudoin.

He hopes the expanded hours, programming and improved services will attract more community interest, potentially forming a Friends of the Library group and an engaged community.

In the new arrangement, the district will pay PLDL about $60,000 per year, which includes 0.3 of a mill as required by Michigan law for operation as well as state aid and fine revenues.

The oversight of PLDL could prove to be a solution to the funding and service struggles the Hancock library has suffered since Proposal A ended the districts ability to levy mills to fund its operation.