Feedback sought in meeting on struggling Commerce library

May 15, 2012

COMMERCE - On the main floor of the Commerce Public Library you’ll find more than 500 volumes relating to the region, photographs dating back decades and a myriad of books and children’s tools readily available.

But within the pages of this 95 year-old structure, former home of the Commerce Post Office; is needed improvement to its infrastructure.

“Painting the outside, fixing up those pillars in front, balustrades up along the top that are crumbling. There’s actually a whole lot of stuff that’s going to come out at the meeting. There’s going to be pictures and everything,” says Gayle Gordon, library director.

The meeting entitled “Save the Library” is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday at City Hall and will serve as a way to increase public awareness of library functions and services.

In addition to building concerns, Gordon says there’s not enough in the budget to increase the number of books they should and keep collections current.

The Commerce Public Library is owned and operated by the Friends of the Library, a non-profit organization that funds the facility’s employees and equipment. The city owns the building and helps with a portion of building maintenance and yard work.

“Since they own the building, technically they are responsible for repairs and things, but the kind of things that need to be done with this building are out of their capabilities right now,” Gordon added.

She notes the city has done their best to provide services like the recent installation of a new air conditioning unit, as well as continued utility payments and pest control.

“We’re better than we were, say three or four years ago, because we have the passport acceptance program going on,” said Gordon. “We sold the pictorial histories… we’re still selling those, we’ve got some good financial experts working on the board. But there’s still a lot that we need.”

Gordon wasn’t able to provide figures of how much will be needed but did say a multi-part plan will be presented during Thursday’s meeting. She says the meeting is not a fundraiser but a way to bring citizens together to get their opinions and inform them of where the library is in its planning.