Tuesday, August 11, 2015

From the Suggestion Box: Noise, Trees and Selection

“The library staff here is very loud. I came to the library hoping for a quiet & relaxing area. I was very disappointed w/ the Plainfield Public Library. Please lower your voices when talking on the phone!”

I am sorry that the library cannot provide quiet areas at this time. As repeatedly stated on this blog, in press releases, in library newsletters, etc., there is no quiet space left in our Library. At about 1/3 the size it should be to serve our community, every single area must serve multiple purposes and house as much as possible. Yes, library staff answer questions and conduct business over the phone in public areas of the library. They have to – there are neither the number of staff nor the space to remove those functions to non-public areas. Also, the high ceilings of some library areas and low soffits of other areas create interesting acoustics, with sound that carries easily particularly throughout the upper level. Library staff work hard to balance the multiple demands this work environment imposes, such as speaking loudly enough on the phone for the listener, but softly enough for those in the close proximity of the current library space. Community support for library expansion will be needed to offer quiet space in the library.

“Tree branches over sidewalk near entrance need trimming so you don’t walk into the branches.”

Technically, the parkway trees belong to the Village of Plainfield. But, after numerous comments and complaints within a short time, the library’s Maintenance staff took care of the problem. Let us know if the weird branch that was growing straight down comes back!

“I think this Library should get a better selection.”

Help us get the things you want by using our Suggest a Title form! We purchase on demand to help meet community needs within our space constraints. With every physical item needing to “earn” its shelf space by being checked out, we delay buying some things until there is demand for it. So Suggest a Title or place a hold to get it from another library. Either way, you’re letting us know what you want from your library.

As for the number of physical items available this time of year: Welcome to Summer Reading! One good problem we have is that in June every year, more than 50% of the Library’s physical items are checked out. On the other hand, that pretty much means that anything that could be categorized as new or popular is checked out. Currently, the library’s collection exceeds the building’s capacity for physical items because so much is checked out at once, even at our slowest times of year. You may notice this in August after Summer Reading ends, or in late December, our 2 slowest times of year for check outs. At those times, carts of books or DVDs appear at the ends of shelving areas and stay a while. Community support for library expansion will be needed to offer a larger selection. 

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Your Property Tax Bill and the Library

On today’s property tax bill, the average home in Plainfield invests about $190 annually in the Plainfield Public Library District. According to American FactFinder (which is a division of the US Census Bureau), the median home value in the Library District is $295,300. Using that median home value, the charts below show the tax bill of that home, assuming it’s located in the Village of Plainfield and Plainfield Township. Exact figures vary with township and municipality.

Looking at that tax bill graphically, the top five pieces of the pie comprise 90% of your tax bill: school district, fire district, county, village and community college district. The library’s portion of the average household’s property tax bill is $190.14 at a tax rate of .2057 mils or just over 20 cents per one hundred dollars of equalized assessed valuation of the property.

When people think about their property taxes, it’s the big number that sticks in their heads, that total amount. The Plainfield Public Library District’s portion is a small fraction, just over 2% of your total tax bill - a low 3 digit number. When Library expansion planning and its impact on your property tax bill are discussed, remember that it will still be low 3 digit numbers, not that big number from your total property tax bill.