Currently, Crockery residents are not part of the Spring Lake library district. As nonresidents, they must pay $88 per library card for limited services at the library. Those services do not include inter-library loans, e-books or other digital services.
The 24-member Library for Crockery Readers group has asked the Township Board to place a 0.33-mill proposal on the August 2014 ballot. If that were to happen, and voters approved such a measure, Crockery Township could enter into a contract agreement with Spring Lake District Library — as long as the library board is on board with the plan.
Library Director Claire Sheridan said the Lakeland Library Cooperative, of which the Spring Lake library is a part, allows for full services with a three-tenths of a mill commitment and contract. Sheridan said the Spring Lake library typically follows Lakeland policies, but cautioned that the final decision would rest with the seven-member local library board.
“We haven't even been approached formally by Crockery Township,” Sheridan said this week. “Any discussions have been just totally preliminary and informal."
Sheridan said she has met with the Library for Crockery Readers group and is encouraged by the possibility.
“I hope it works,” she said. “I'm happy to see Crockery Township residents interested in working toward getting library services. It's an important service and it adds to the attractiveness of an area for people who are considering moving in.”
Spring Lake Township and Spring Lake Village are the library's only district members. In 2002, voters in those communities approved 2.25 mills for 20 years for library operating and debt (1.7335 and 0.52, respectively).
Several members of the Crockery Township Board questioned the fairness of a scenario where Crockery residents would pay just a fraction of the cost that Spring Lake residents pay for equal services. For example, the owner of a $200,000 house in Crockery Township would pay close to $70 a year in taxes toward full library services. The owner of a home of the same value in Spring Lake would pay $450.
Stille said since the Nunica Library closed about six years ago, he has approached the Spring Lake library about joining the district, but the 2 mill-plus cost has been prohibitive. He said a third of a mill for full services sounds too good to be true.
“I'm very concerned that this (Library for Crockery Readers) group has been misled,” Stille said. “I don't think we're out of bounds if we went to the (library) director or board for clarity. For three-tenths of a mill, that would be a tremendous service.”
Crockery Township attorney Jim Brown said there's typically a user fee for library services on top of the millage.
Shirley Bruursema, a library millage consultant based in Kent County who has met with Sheridan, said she is confident a contract can be worked out between the township and the library.
To read more of this story, see Saturday’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.