On May 13, the three counties served by the Pioneer Library System voted YES in support of the 2 mill increase for support of public library services. The funding support came just in time for Pioneer to plan new and improved services.
Sunday Summer Hours started June 1. In the past, only the Moore and Norman branches were open on Sunday afternoons and then only September through May. Although the new funds won’t be budgeted until the new fiscal year beginning July 1, Pioneer decided to begin the new Sunday Summer Hours immediately in Moore and Norman. PLS administrative staff members supplemented branch staff on Sunday afternoons in June to stretch the hourly staff budget. In many cases customers did not realize the Sunday Summer Hours were something new, they just came. Sunday business has been brisk. Beginning in September, all of the Pioneer branches will be open on Sunday afternoons. Other changes in library hours are in the works and will also be implemented in September.
The preliminary budget prepared in late May shows an increase in the personnel budget to cover the added hours of operation, funding for an additional delivery van to enable system-wide delivery six days a week instead of five and make additional stops, and a big jump in the budget for books and other materials. Staff members at the Pioneer Service Center are looking for ways to streamline their processes so they can select, order and process the additional books, dvds and other resources. The Virtual Library will increase its offerings as well, beginning with additional OverDrive downloadable book titles. New titles were added in June and more will be added in July and throughout the year. Customers can now check out two of the downloadable titles at a time.
A new Pioneer branch in South Oklahoma City (north Cleveland County) is expected to open in 2010. Funds for this library building were voted in December of 2000 and increased by a second vote in December of 2007. Oklahoma City is purchasing property on the campus of the Moore Norman Technology Center at 134th and Pennsylvania. The library will front on 134th and be located between the 134th Street entrance to the campus and the “lake” at the corner of 134th and Penn. North Cleveland County/South Oklahoma City residents have been contributing to the support of the Pioneer Library System all along, but their nearest library was the Moore Public Library. The preliminary budget includes reserve funds for start-up collections of materials and technology for the new South Oklahoma City branch.
The funding increase will help Pioneer plan for larger collections in some communities and additional service points in others. The Blanchard City Council approved a budget of $1,000,000 for a new Blanchard Public Library at their June meeting. The City of Purcell has expressed interest in a new public library as part of a future city complex. Although the bond issue for a new Norman Public Library did not pass on May 13 (failing by a very small margin), the City of Norman is listening to the recommendations of citizens and working to bring a new library issue back to the voters in the near future.
Pioneer is looking at locations for additional Information Stations in north Shawnee, east and west Norman and rural communities. An Information Station does not have a collection of materials, but is a location where customers can pick up and drop off books. Currently Pioneer has five Information Stations in rural communities: Byars, Little Axe, Macomb, Maud and Wanette.
Pioneer branch libraries are a partnership between the city in which a branch is located (the city providing the facility, furniture, utilities and maintenance) and the Pioneer Library System (the System providing operational costs, staff, materials and technology.) Pioneer branches are located in Blanchard, McLoud, Moore, Newcastle, Noble, Norman, Purcell, Shawnee and Tecumseh.