PI voters being asked for library renewal millage

ROGERS CITY – Presque Isle District Library is asking voters to renew its operating millage on Aug. 5.

The library’s levy of up to one mill expires this year, and voters will be asked to renew the millage for another seven years, according to ballot language. It would raise an estimated $649,523 in its first year, with the money going toward operating, fixing and renovating the library district’s five locations.

This millage would replace two that levied a total of one mill, Library Director Mike Grulke said. Taxpayers aren’t being asked to put up any additional funding, and the money will allow district library to maintain and grow the services it already provides.

“For what we have for our size, I think we do a pretty fair job of helping the public get the information they need and want,” he said.

With its main location in Rogers City and branches in Millersburg, Onaway, Posen and Presque Isle, the library provides a variety of services and programs across the country, Grulke said. In 2013 library employees organized or hosted 278 programs involving nearly 6,000 people.

The work brings Program Director Anne Belanger and her coworkers all over the county, she said. That includes outreach efforts like delivering books to senior citizens’ apartments and bringing programs to schools.

Belanger and others also collaborate with local and state organizations to bring new programs and projects to the county, she said. One includes the recently added monument to Calcite in Lakeside Park, the result of a joint effort between the library, the Michigan Humanities Council and others.

Coming this fall, the library will start using the online book catalog BiblioCommons.com, Belanger said. It’ll provide a platform similar to online book retailers to search through the library’s offerings. The library already is part of a consortium of northern Michigan libraries and can borrow books from other members. Patrons also can get books through the Michigan eLibrary.

Along with books, including eBooks available through the library’s membership with Up North Digital Overdrive, all library locations have computers, wireless and high-speed Internet, Grulke said. They offer classes on computer literacy and how to use tablet computers as well.

With its college testing center and GED classes, the library is working to help people educate themselves as well, Belanger said. Michigan Works is looking to collaborate with the library to teach job seekers the basic computer skills they’ll need to find and work a job.

Belanger said she believes the library is responsive to the public’s demands as it seeks to enrich their lives. There are many ways they can give input, be it email, by phone or speaking with an employee directly.

“We’re always looking for ideas and ways we can meet the needs of the community,” she said.

Jordan Travis can be reached via email at jtravis@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5688. Follow Jordan on Twitter @jt_alpenanews. Read his blog, A Snowball’s Chance, at www.thealpenanews.com.