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Full-Time Librarians In Algood, Baxter Will Help Extend Services

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader

The Director of the Putnam County Library System said funding full-time librarians will help extend needed community services.

Phil Schaller said he is grateful that officials throughout the county have helped make new full-time positions a reality. During this year’s budget process, both Algood and Baxter approved funds to bring part-time librarians up to full-time in each city’s branch libraries.

“There are so many people in the community that look to the library to get the services we provide,” Schaller said. “It’s good to know the funding bodies and the local governments have made that connection, as well, and that the library is an important part of the community and that we are here for them when they need us.”

Schaller said because librarians are county employees, Putnam County is paying for the benefit portions of the new positions. Wanting to keep financial burdens down was one of the reasons whey Schaller said he wanted to get help from the municipalities. He said by everybody chipping in, it allows each community’s library to grow.

“I was trying to not put the burden solely on one funding body,” Schaller said.

According to Schaller, having full-time librarians goes beyond extended hours at the library. It also means better access to services.

“On top of us just having our doors open at the library, it will allow us to have that librarian go out and do outreach to the community,” Schaller said. “Just going outside the four walls and reaching out to schools, senior centers, and other places that can use our services that maybe can’t come to us.”

Librarian turnover was a problem Schaller said the library system was having. He said he hopes making the positions full-time will help keep the jobs filled.

“Having it be a full-time position allows us to keep the turnover rate down, especially in Algood where it was a part-time position” Schaller said. “We were kind of going through librarians once every year or every couple of years. People get into that spot, they love it, and they love the community they work for, but they’re not making enough money to provide for themselves. And, so, we constantly had turnover.”

Schaller said it is not good for the community a library serves to constantly be replacing its librarian.

“They get used to a librarian and the librarian gets used to what they specifically want,” Schaller said. “And they are small, tight-knit communities, so those relationships get formed and then they get severed every time there’s a new librarian that comes in. So this way, hopefully, it will be able to keep that turnover rate down because the librarians will be able to afford to pay rent, have healthcare, and stuff like that.”





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