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Plan to merge Helper Library with Bookmobile

Sun Advocate associate editor

The Helper City Library is in line to more than double the number of books on its shelves. So now the search is on for more shelves, shelf space and parking for the Utah Bookmobile that will make the expansion possible.

As members of the city's library board explained to the city council Thursday, the state library system wants to relocate the Bookmobile base from Wellington to Helper. That basically will mean merging the Bookmobile collection with the city's. Of the 20,000 books assigned to the big motorized library, 5,000 will be making the rounds at any given time.

That leaves 15,000 to be housed in the Helper facility, which now has 13,000 volumes.

Board member Michelle Goldsmith said the additional books will enhance but not replace the city's collection. However, the move will result in a one-time saving of $10,000 for the city. That comes from cataloging on a remote computer server, which the state system will handle. After the initial cataloging, the city will have to cover the $1,500 annual expense of keeping the system up to date.

That is something the library will have to do anyway to maintain its certification.

The state will also pay the wages of an extra staffer to be based in the Helper Library, she said. That staff member begins some days at 7:30 a.m., meaning that the library will have to open earlier on those days to accommodate the schedule.

Other than that, "I can think of only one disadvantage," Goldsmith said, "and that is we'd lose a few parking spaces." While that might have a small impact during major events, however, the sense of the mayor and council members present was that is would not be much of a problem.

The city could take no official action last Thursday because there were not enough council members to make a quorum. A rare confluence of scheduling conflicts led to three of the five council members being absent.

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