Casper citizens speak out on importance of Library after City Council discussion on cutting one cent funds to community help programs

Published: Jul. 6, 2022 at 11:12 PM CDT
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CASPER, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - At their Tuesday July 5 meeting, Casper’s City Council was met by a group of citizens who had concerns about a discussion that involved the possible cut of one cent funding to community help organizations. This would affect non-profit organizations around Casper along with places like the Natrona County Library who depend on annual one cent funds.

Many of those who spoke at the meeting were in attendance to represent the library and talked about the services it provides besides just loaning books to the public.

“I use the library everyday, I check out lots of books and audio books so I can be entertained all throughout the summer. One thing that I do at the Library is I go to book clubs. I am currently in three book clubs and all of them help me grow my knowledge and help me meet new people and form connections,” said one teen who spoke out to council about her love of the Library.

After the library was informed that these discussions were taking place they took action to get word out about the possible loss of funding. The library usually receives almost $50,000 a year from this one cent funding that is used for many of their programs.

“The Library is so much more than books and it is so much more than one demographic. We are books, services, materials and an anchor for education for our community. The Library is here for everybody and I think that was made perfectly clear by library patrons and library users last night to city council,” said the Libraries Executive Director Lisa Scroggins.

City staff proposed this idea to council based off of a survey that was taken earlier in the year. The survey was taken by 750 Casper residents and had them rank 16 different city resources that need funding. In the end the survey found that these citizens placed streets and road repair at the top of the list. Out of the 16 items the survey revealed that those who were surveyed ranked community support programs 14th out of the 16 spots.

City Manager Carter Napier held a special meeting on Wednesday July 6, to discuss the topic and said, “With regard to the priorities that they identified, in conjunction with the priorities that the community identified was really the driver behind what it is that we put together in that proposal. It was understood that, indeed, a grant program would be left out of the mix, as far as staffs recommendation was concerned, but I would not go so far as to say that we were dumping all non-profits.”

Council will be revisiting the one cent budget again in their next work session and are hoping to make a decision then. They may hold off on making the decision though so that they can hear once again from citizens about their feelings on the allocation of this funding.

Library Executive Director Lisa Scroggins had this to say in regards to the public outcry, “If you’re a Library supporter and you understand the value of having a public library I would encourage you to reach out to city council. Reach out to your elected officials and let them know how you feel, because I’m letting them know how I feel.”

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