The Crawford County Library Board explored the possibility of starting a library foundation Tuesday.
The board talked to attorney Gentry C. Wahlmeier and Debbie Thomas, director of the Van Buren School Education Foundation, about forming a library foundation during its meeting at the Van Buren Public Library on Tuesday.
Crawford County Library System Director Eva White said the board approved forming a foundation during a special meeting April 5.
White said on Tuesday fundraising would be the goal of starting a foundation.
“Our taxes that we bring in is 1.4 mills property tax,” White said. “At this point, we’ve gone about as far as we can go as far as growth is concerned on that. Not sure that if we go to the voters and ask for a raise that we will get one, but there are people that would donate to us and get the tax deduction.”
While there are friends of the library groups at each of the five branches of the Crawford County Library System, White said the system itself has no way of taking in additional monies.
Wahlmeier told the board about the advantages and disadvantages of creating a foundation, which would be a nonprofit organization. One of the advantages he mentioned was the library system would be eligible for both public and private grants. As for the disadvantages, there are many costs and a considerable amount of paperwork that come with creating a foundation, the latter of which would be open to the public.
“And then, perhaps most importantly, there’s a lot of shared control issues, where we would subject ourselves to a lot of federal and state guidelines that we’d have to follow and we would lose a lot of our individual control over the way that we run things,” Wahlmeier said.
Wahlmeier said “extensive” record keeping requirements were also a disadvantage.