Hancock Public Library making great progress

Graham Jaehnig/Daily Mining Gazette The Hancock Public Library, located in the high school, is seeing a significant increase in usage during the past six months, since being placed under the management of the Portage Lake District Library, under a three-year agreement between the School Board and the PLDL Board.

HANCOCK — During Monday’s regular monthly meeting, the School Board received an update on the progress of the Hancock Public Library, located in the high school.

Dillon Geshel, director of the Portage Lake District Library (PLDL), gave the update, in which he said the library has been under the management of the PLDL for six months and has obtained $14,000 in grants and donations.

Geshel discussed usage and traffic through the library during the past six months, saying the facility has averaged 2,900 patrons per month. In addition, circulation is up by 20 percent, and the number of new cardholders has increased by 65 percent. To simplify searches, the library now has a catalog search computer station, as well as interlibrary loan.

In August of last year, the school board entered into an agreement with the trustees of the PLDL. Under the three-year agreement, the Hancock library will operate at its present location, and PLDL will provide staffing for the Hancock library, as well as provide books and other materials; access to library databases, interlibrary loans that enable patrons to borrow books from other libraries; and programming.

The agreement will not cost Hancock residents, or the PLDL any additional taxes. It is funded by the equivalent of 3/10 of a mill already required by law to support a public library, paid to PLDL by the Hancock School District. Total funding, including state aid and penal fines, will be approximately $60,000 a year.

School Board Trustee Mary Babcock was excited with the positive report.

“There are a lot of positive things going on there,”she said. “The library is a shining light at the school, and I can’t believe it.”