School library consultant hired

JOHNSTOWN — The Johnstown Public Library Board of Trustees has hired a consultant to study the feasibility of the facility becoming a school district library.

Library Director Erica Wing said Friday that the board reviewed three applicants and hired a consulting firm, although she declined to divulge its name.

She said she can’t release the name yet because she hasn’t contacted the other finalists. She also said she can’t release the amount the library will be paying the consultant.

“A contract hasn’t been finalized yet,” Wing said.

In 2016, officials from the library and the city discussed whether the facility could become a school district library funded by Greater Johnstown School District taxpayers. The move could be beneficial financially to all entities involved, officials say. The city funds the library and budgeted $283,000 for it in 2017.

Trustees still haven’t formally voted on whether to support a move to make the longtime public library a school district library.

Wing said the consultant will now help the library determine whether transitioning to a school district library is “feasible.”

“We’re hoping to start work with them very soon,” she said. “For the most part, it will be discussion with the consultant, trustees and myself to figure more about our community.”

The library will also have to work closely with the district’s board of education if it decides to change its structure.

The library board of trustees commenced strategic planning for a possible transition in spring 2016. If the board eventually supports pursuing a change to a school district facility, the library is considering holding public meetings and focus groups to educate the community.

The library is also considering gathering and submitting signatures on petitions to form and fund a new library and nominating board members. The library would also conduct a vote on a library proposition that may not occur until 2018. Pending approval of that, the Johnstown Public Library would apply for a new library charter and dissolve and transfer assets of the old library. School tax bills would eventually be sent, then collected and sent to the library from the school district.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at [email protected]

By Chad Fleck

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