Chesterton Tribune

 

 

WPL expands public outreach with local community notices

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By PAULENE POPARAD

The public will have a better way to learn what services local organizations offer once a new Community Information Module is activated through Westchester Public Library.

WPL director Phil Baugher reported Thursday that the new acquisition will allow the library to build a database of information about community organizations and their events.

The library’s Reference Department will research and enter initial records about participating organizations. Eventually, Baugher said organization meetings can be added to a community calendar on the library’s website so everyone can have access.

Scheduled to begin this week is a remodel of the Hageman Library restrooms to make them handicapped accessible. Water service also will be upgraded to make more hot water available. A porta-potty has been delivered for the convenience of patrons and staff during construction.

At Thomas Library the elevator has been temporarily unavailable while new components are installed as part of a fire-service upgrade that includes a dedicated elevator telephone line.

Baugher told the Library Board that public libraries are expected to assist patrons in navigating through the requirements of the federal Affordable Care Act because libraries offer free public computers and internet access. Oct. 1 individuals without heath care coverage should begin shopping for insurance online.

WPL staff needs training to assist in this effort, said the director, and he’s seeking out resources to do that as well as to help patrons utilize the federal insurance marketplace.

Two projects are taking shape at the WPL-sponsored Westchester Township History Museum.

Curator Serena Sutliff is working with the Chesterton/Duneland Chamber of Commerce on a new panoramic picture of the downtown to be taken Aug. 8. It will duplicate two previous such photographs taken some time ago. Copies of the new picture likely will be available for sale.

The museum also is working to produce a calendar of local historic events and dates to be sold at the museum store later this year. The calendar will be sold in a limited edition.

Design drawings and specifications are being finalized for a museum remodeling project to open up and modernize exhibit areas; the museum is in the Duneland School Corp.-owned historic Brown Mansion but WPL is paying for the renovation, which will take place in a later building addition.

In other business, the Library Board made a transfer of $311,135 in unexpended cash from the operating fund to the rainy day fund after this year’s spring property-tax distribution was received. Shifting the money will help in preparation of the 2014 budget, which now is underway.

After months of discussion and input from legal/financial professionals, the Library Board unanimously agreed Thursday on a new investment policy. WPL currently has $8 million in all accounts with most of it in investments.

Adopted were resolutions establishing guidelines for expanded investment opportunities, but the full amount of any investments and accrued interest are to be covered by a federal deposit insurance program.

Baugher has been investing the money being held in reserve for future WPL building projects, but the growing amount and time needed to manage it was more than he could devote. Now, a federally regulated investment advisor or other institutional money manager is authorized to make investments within the guidelines set.

 

Posted 7/15/2013