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Library needs $$ to start next chapter

POTOMAC, Ill. (WCIA) -- The library is on the brink of closing unless more money can be found to keep it open.

The Potomac Public Library wants to establish its own library district. It would allow taxes to be collected. Leaders believe it will help the entire school district.

Currently, the library gets a small check from the village board. If the referendum passes, the library director says, on average, each person in the district would pay $4 a month. They believe it's a small price to pay for everything they want to offer the community.

"This is like a gathering place. It's not just a library to get a book or get on the computer."

On the outside, it looks like a quaint corner in a little town. But those who run the library say it's much more.

"It's a little home, a nice little home."

The historical building was donated to the town 80-years ago on one condition: it be used as a library. But, it's starting to show its age.

"As you can see, our roof is leaking. We got a temporary patch."

There's not much Rebecca Howie, the library president, can do about it. Money is running out.

"The costs were going to be about $16,000 to fix the roof. We don't have that kind of money."

For their only employee, Elizabeth Osborn, it's hard to hear. Her friends have become her family. She knows exactly what they want.

"I have one gentleman who's all westerns. He's read every western we've had. He'll go and double check, 'Oh, my name's there, I've read that one.' I said, 'I'm looking for new ones for you!'"

If they can't come to here, she'll bring books to them.

"I told them, if you can't get out, give me a call. I'll bring it to you. I'll pick it up on the way to work."

She says, if the referendum isn't passed, they won't be able to keep the library running, which means no more books, games, tutoring or safe place for people to go.

"That would just make me heartsick. I think it would a lot of people."

The next nearest library is more than 15 miles away. If the referendum passes, the library would be free for everyone in the Unit #10 School District.

A town hall meeting will discuss the tax levy, February 28. The referendum vote will be March 20.

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