WASHINGTON — Washington Township residents outside the Washington city limits are still having to pay for library cards, and, according to Township Trustee Albert “Pete” Showalter, that’s the way it will remain unless the library reduces the township’s contract for library services.
Librarian Teresa Heidenreich said many people don’t realize the Washington Carnegie Public Library is a “city” library supported by Washington residents’ tax dollars. Washington and Veale townships have contracted with the library for many years to allow their residents full access to the library. Elmore, Steele and Bogard townships also contract with the library at a slightly higher rate, as there is a branch library in Plainville, they use as well as the main branch in Washington.
“Everyone has access to our computers. Everyone can come in to read newspapers, magazines, books, but townships (residents) not contracted with us can’t check out books without purchasing a library card,” Heidenreich said.
Last year was the first the township didn’t sign a contract, and in January, Washington Township residents had to purchase a card in order to check out books. The card cost is $42, an amount mandated by the state. The library board did find a way to supply library cards to students in outlying townships not under contract. The state law allows the library to give library cards to students attending schools in the taxing unit (the city of Washington), so all students attending any Washington Community, Washington Catholic or Cornerstone schools can obtain a card.
“We didn’t want to take the service away from the kids or from anyone,” Heidenreich said. “With this decision, students just need to comply with rules for getting a card and prove they attend one of those schools. Any student regardless of where they live, they can get a library card. But that doesn’t solve the problem of adults that want a card.”