Missouri State Statute 182.050. County library boards …there shall be …a county library board of trustees, of five members, who shall be residents of the library district, none of whom shall be elected county officials. The members shall be appointed by the county commission for terms of four years each… No member of the board shall receive compensation as such.
Sounds like a great job, doesn’t it? Four years, no compensation, hmmm, sounds more like one of those “thankless” jobs to me. When you read last week’s bookworm, it might even have sounded like I wasn’t thankful, no way, I just knew I needed a whole other bookworm to handle all my kudos to my board.
In 1939, the Women’s Civic Club arranged for an election to vote on forming a city library district. On April 4, 1939 the vote was approved and the first meeting, of the first appointed board for the library, was held on May 24, 1939. Because the first library was a city district, there were 9 members: President: Edna Gehrean, Vice President: Irene Petty, Treasurer: Maurine Earp, Secretary: Priscilla McDonough, and Members at Large: Alma Gunn, Myra Petty, Cora Richard, Agnes Williams, and Eunice Witten. I wish I had time to tell you how long all these ladies served on the board, but I have already spent too much time figuring out their first names, most of them were listed like this, Mrs. P.J. McDonough, etc.
In 1946, after voting on a 10 cent tax levy (the same levy we still operate under), the county library district was formed. This is where our first 5-member board comes into play: President: Moss McDonald, Vice President: Kenneth Kirchner, Treasurer: Florence Routon, Secretary: Ray Burns and Member at Large: Paul Washburn. Interesting that the first city board consisted of all females and the first county board consisted of all males, but I digress, that is a whole other bookworm.
Since I have worked at the library there have been 12 different board members, 7 as a director. In my 10 years I have not experienced one bad apple, seriously, every member has given selflessly of their time, shared their wisdom and have always had the county and community’s best interest at heart in every decision made. I am thankful for my job and staff, but man, my board, your board, our board, is the best. They have had my back during bad times, they support me 100%, and they love this county. What more could we ask for?
Our current board: President: Mary Jo Jackson, Vice President: Curtis Cunningham, Treasurer: Kathy Jones, Secretary: Ann Brinson, and our former President, now Member at Large: Brenda Steffens. See, we have a little bit of a mix unlike those first boards. 😉
Our board advocates for the library and for the members of our county, they plan for the future, monitor and evaluate the overall effectiveness of the library, adopt library policies and hire and evaluate me, the library director. That one really tells you how awesome they are. 😉 They are the ultimate volunteers, just like other boards, such as the one our schools have. Boards that receive no compensation, tend to take all the flack when things go bad, sometimes only hear the negative and still have to show up monthly to make sure that the library, the schools, etc. continue to run, and run the best that they can for their community. Yep, it seems like a “thankless” job, but listen to me, “Thank you, thank you, thank you.”
Upcoming Events: 12/1 Story Time at 10am, 12/7 Book Club at 6:30pm. On December 1st we will be starting our next reading challenge, we will be concentrating on Young Adult books, but that doesn’t mean that only the teens can participate, adults are welcome too, swing by the library for more information.