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Hancock School library fees in effect for out of district residents

HANCOCK– Hancock School Public Library and the Portage Lake District Library have implemented membership fees for residents outside Hancock School District.

PLDL Library Director Katrina Linde-Moriarty said the membership fees became effective this past Saturday.

Library cards are free for residents and property owners within the school district. The school district includes the City of Hancock, Franklin Township, Hancock Township and Quincy Township. Students, staff, and faculty of the Hancock School District are also eligible for free library cards at the Hancock Library. Library memberships are available to individuals and households outside the School District for a fee:

• Individual non-resident for $25/year

• Family/Household non-resident for $40/year

“We gave everyone a healthy grace period to get the word out and consider if they want to opt in for the annual membership fee, whether at the individual or household rate for those who reside outside of the school district,” Linde-Moriarty said.

The discussion regarding the fees was a topic at the November, 2023 regular meeting of the Hancock School Board. At the meeting, Linde-Moriarty explained that the goal of an amendment to the service contract between the HSPL and PLDL was to extend library membership to anyone sharing the same residential address to those outside of the geographic boundaries of the Hancock School District boundaries, at a fee of $40 suggested by PLDL. This would include college rental housing units and apartment units.

Currently, the only means of payment is by cash or check, but the system operations and updates to accept cards can be approached in the near future.

Linde-Moriarty said that she is hoping to present a draft of the next round of contracts between the two entities at the March School Board meeting.

“I want to move away from the service model to an operations model,” Linde-Moriarty said, “so that instead of working around the millage-style language that has confused and confounded both parties, I want to move to a proposed budget and the cost, at budget cost, of what we are seeking to operate the library. In those amounts, we are applying our fund balance, hopefully over the course of a three-year period, so that the savings that we’ve accumulated through the grant period can be re-distributed through the service contract.”

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