SHERIDAN — Cameron Duff, director of the Sheridan County Public Library System told legislators in a forum last week that Sheridan County libraries had reached the goal of their endowment challenge and are willing to help other library leadership reach theirs.
The Wyoming Library Endowment Challenge was created by the Wyoming Legislature in 2007 and a tier system was created for the state treasurer to match either three times the amount of the endowment, two times the amount of the endowment or the same amount as the endowment based on the county in which the library is located. Sheridan County is a second-tier county with the treasurer matching twice the amount the library raises for the endowment.
Proceeds from the interest of the endowment can be used by the libraries in whatever capacity needed.
Duff said Sheridan County has raised 100 percent of the funds it was required to raise, but with the clock still ticking, he felt more could be done.
“A little amendment went through the Legislature and that was to extend out the time counties have to raise the funds and that pushed it through until December 2016 to have raised and have pledged, and then to have the funds in place by June 2017, ” Duff said.
Duff said another amendment is on the table to assist libraries having trouble meeting the goals.
“What’s happening this year is the Wyoming Library Association, in conjunction with the lobbyist that they have, Marian Schultz, is trying to have another amendment to this,” Duff said. “Those counties who do not raise their funds would be in a difficulty and the amount left back would go ahead and revert to the state. This amendment would actually allow those libraries who have reached that 100 percent funding rate to help those counties who haven’t reached their 100 percent funding rate.”
Duff said that with another two years left to raise funds, counties like Sheridan, that have reached the goal could begin pledging money to libraries in other counties, and the state match would be split. In other words, if Sheridan raises $1, the state will give it $2 to match because it is a second-tier county. Sheridan would then split that match with another county in need of assistance reaching its goal.
“If this (amendment) does go through, we’re also going to take advantage and fund raise even further to help Sheridan,” Duff said. “In the process we do help the other counties that haven’t raised.”
There are 23 county library systems in Wyoming. Duff said that a recent survey showed that 21 counties are in favor of using extended time to help other libraries. Two libraries, he said, have balked at the idea. Both are counties that would benefit from the amendment.
Uinta County has raised about 64 percent of the funds for their endowment, but is in the process of hiring a new director, Duff said. He said the county isn’t for or against the amendment, but it is not making any decisions while in transition.
Fremont County has raised about half its goal funds, and Duff said they are against the amendment and would not like assistance from any other counties.
Sheridan County Fulmer Library just completed a fundraising auction last month where it raised $38,000. Duff said the amount was down from $50,000 last year but still higher than the average over the library’s 32 years of business.
Source: The Sheridan Press