CLARKDALE – Although the Clark Memorial Library will be closing its doors on June 30, the closure may be more temporary than anyone had imagined thanks to a proposal that recently surfaced from Yavapai County Free Library District Director Corey Christians.
“Mr. Christians, Town of Clarkdale staff and a recently formed Friends of Clark Memorial Library organization have met and reviewed the proposal, and all feel optimistic that the Library may re-open soon, perhaps by fall of this year,” said Town Manager Gayle Mabery in a news release.
Under the proposal, the Yavapai County Library District will take over operations of the Library, and in doing so provide funding for a 24.5-hour per week Library Manager, plus basic operational expenses, stated the release.
The Town of Clarkdale would be expected to provide the facility, and cover the cost of utilities and normal building maintenance. The Friends of the Clark Memorial Library would be tasked with raising funds annually to cover the cost of purchasing new materials at a minimum, and could also direct funds to support other Library programs.
In order for the re-opening to proceed, Yavapai County and the Town of Clarkdale will need to execute an Intergovernmental Agreement that lays out the terms and conditions under which the County will take over the operations of the Library, said Mabery.
“With a successful meeting among the parties this week, it is expected that the first draft of the Agreement will get underway immediately, and will ultimately be forwarded to the Clarkdale Town Council and the Yavapai County Board of Supervisors for approval,” the town manager continued.
Library District Director Corey Christians commented, “The Yavapai County Free Library District is excited to pursue the opportunity to work with the Town of Clarkdale to share the responsibility of managing their library services. Yavapai County and the Board of Supervisors have consistently shown support for their local libraries and the critical services they provide. I would especially like to thank Supervisor Randy Garrison who has been an essential part of laying the groundwork for this potential partnership. We look forward to the possibility of serving the residents of Clarkdale in this new capacity.”
Expressing optimism about the possibility of an agreement, Mabery stated, “This will be a real win-win situation for the citizens of Clarkdale and for our current and future library patrons. We are very excited at the prospect of being able to re-open the Library so quickly, and appreciate the support from Mr. Christians, Supervisor Garrison and Yavapai County. Notably, without the community members banning together and committing to supporting the Library, this would not have been possible. In an era where municipal resources continue to shrink, these are exactly the types of solutions that make sense and help the community continue to thrive.”
Many people in Clarkdale raised their hands to offer to volunteer and help support the ongoing needs of the Library, and through this new effort, they will get the opportunity, said Mabery.
The Friends of the Clark Memorial Library have already started the process to incorporate and file for non-profit status with the Internal Revenue Service, according to the release.
Jimmy Salmon, President of the Friends of Clark Memorial Library remarked, “Friends of Clark Memorial Library are very excited to have been part of the process that will lead to the reopening of Clarkdale’s Library. We are very thankful to the Town of Clarkdale and Yavapai County for bringing this proposal forward. Our Friends group is enthusiastic about getting started helping in whatever way we can to contribute to the success of our library, now, and for many years into the future.”
All parties involved are hopeful that the enthusiasm and energy for the library will carry forward in support of this new effort, said Mabery.
“The Friends of Clark Memorial Library are already planning fundraising events and brainstorming ways to assist the new library. They need your help! For now, you can reach them by email at firstname.lastname@example.org,” added Mabery.