LA MARQUE — The La Marque Public Library is in danger of losing accreditation with the Texas State Library unless the city increases its funding, the library’s director told the City Council on Monday.

Telishia Long said in her presentation to the City Council the state of the library was positive, it was getting good use and reaching out to the community, but decreasing funding could cause a problem. The library receives the majority of its funding from the city, with additional money coming from the county and other local sources, but the amount allocated to the library has been decreasing.  

The City Council budgeted about $209,000 for the library in 2014, down from $291,000 in 2011, according to the city budget. Fewer funds means the library can spend less, and that could mean losing accreditation and the benefits that come with it.

“This year, we did meet accreditation, but we barely met accreditation because in the past the budget was cut so drastically,” Long said.

According to Long’s report, local operating expenditures were about $246,00 in 2013, and expenditures from local sources would need to increase to about $273,000.

The funding amount is based on a three-year average, so the funding increase does not have to happen right away, but it does need to go up according to the state, Long said.

Accreditation is important because it allows the library to be eligible for and apply for grants and to give access to programs and databases residents and library users benefit from, she said.

“The last thing we want to do is lose our accreditation,” Mayor Pro-Tem Keith Bell said.

The city’s budget writing process is beginning, and Long said she has asked for $30,000 to hire a part-time employee. The city’s contribution to the library could increase to about $254,000 with that addition, said Mayor Bobby Hocking.

While he was only one vote on the council, Hocking said he believed Long would “have a big smile” once the budget writing process began.

Meanwhile, Long said the library is finding new ways to reach residents in the city.

“We’ve really increased our programs, and we’ve geared up our costumer service so that we create a more welcoming atmosphere to our patrons,” she said.

While total library visits were down, overall, the number of registered users increased to more than 7,000 in 2013, and there have been increases in the number of adult programs, among other things, Long said.

The library is working with groups like the local Lions Club, United Way, the La Marque school district and Premier Learning Academy, Long said.

Long said there also were more adult programs to help with people in the changing job market and needing to improve their computer skills, she said.

“(The library) is more of a community resource where people come to gather,” Long said. “It’s not just to read books anymore. It’s to look for a job or to get your income tax filled out, whatever that need may be.”

Contact reporter Christopher Smith Gonzalez at 409-683-5314 or chris.gonzalez@galvnews.com.

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(5) comments

MissionaryMan
Walter Manuel

Perhaps the money that several of our council members are trying to swindle out of Bridgtex Pipeline for running an oil pipeline from Colorado City through LM can be given to the library where it is much more needed rather than being spent on things that are pet projects for some and aren't a necessity for others?

I was appaulled last night to watch members of our city council look like thuggish members of a street gang demanding money from this pipeline group before they can complete this project for which has already been started after the city screwed up issuing them a permit in the first place and then the project was haulted in order that council could finally approve it.

Just like councilwoman Trube pointed out in last nights meeting, Bridgetex didn't do anything wrong and shouldn't be forced to have to pay the city anything when they did everything that they were suppose to do and that's why a permit was issued to them. Period! It clearly was a screw up within the city and city council.

It's no wonder when the leaders of a community portray their city to be so desperate for money they would stoop this low demanding money because they know the company has no choice but to pay it in order to finish the 400 and something mile project, few people will even consider doing business with the city of La Marque in the future.

And lastly, it's a shame that the one woman who others are attempting to recall found thousands of dollars in accounting errors throughout a report submitted to council from the city's court and yet so many other sets of eyes that supposedly read the same report either didn't find the errors or chose not to bother to mention these same mistakes.

No wonder some people want to get rid of councilwoman Trube, she watches our money and others every move and it obviously makes them nervous!

Mr. Osteen was the first to go and the other set of eyes closely watching OUR money. It's time people wise up and see exactly what's happening before the wolf is the one guarding the hen house.

Anymore I'm ashamed to say that I'm from La Marque....[sad]

Jake Feigle

Let's not forget the $10,000 the city wasted for the "special Attorney" that only continued with the kangaroo court. That money could have been used for something good, like the library. All it did was to protect the people that did not want the truth.

Leonard T. Payne

Gotta agree with you Missionary Man. I too was once very proud of La Marque.

This shakedown for more money is a joke.

City of La Marque Mafia.

Mike Meador

Getting tired of hearing or seeing anything to do with the tired, old city of LaMarque.......anything to do with bickering old people.
This place reminds me of a ghost town.

George Croix

According to the library's website, they are open for 38 hours per week.
That's roughly 2000 hours per year.
Doing some rounding, they want 250,000 dollars to run the place for a year.
It costs 125 dollars an hour to run a small public library in a small town?

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