Friday, November 11, 2005
The South Routt Library District board voted to close the Toponas Public Library in May, but the library did not shut its doors permanently.
Although the library is no longer a part of the library district, librarian Mary Jean Perry, who has worked and owned the library since 1978, is still keeping it open, said South Routt Library District Vice President Lisa Rangel.
"Mary Jean has said it is still going strong. We kind of assumed it would," Rangel said. Rangel said the board, which oversees the operation of the Yampa and Oak Creek libraries, as well, decided to close the Toponas site for several reasons.
Rangel said the district was unable to reach a mutual leasing agreement with Perry. The Toponas Public Library is housed in a building on Perry's property. She had leased the library to the district for about 25 years, since the district was created in 1980, Rangel said.
Rangel also said the board decided it was not fiscally responsible to keep the library open because the district was spending more money than patrons were bringing into library.
"It was only open one day a week, and it was pretty costly for us to keep it open based on the number of visits the library received," she said.
Rangel also was concerned that the library was not able to comply with such federal public library guidelines as providing a handicap accessible ramp and public restrooms.
"As we have grown as a district, we have raised our standards of what a library should be," Rangel said.
"Each branch needed to meet certain requirements, and it was apparent that that facility just wasn't there. It was a very, very difficult decision for us to close it."
Part of the board's decision also was based on the fact that the district was in the process of automating the libraries and Toponas was resistant to that idea.
Rangel said that Perry, who also works as a librarian in Yampa, has since decided to keep the Toponas library open as a private entity.
Perry could not be reached for comment Friday about her plans for the library, but Rangel said she thought Perry might be trying to reach nonprofit status for the library.
"Everyone would like to have a little library in their town," she said.
"The Toponas library is Mary Jean's pride and joy," she said.
The Toponas Public Library is open Mondays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
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