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AGE-OLD WOE HAUNTS NEW LIBRARY

Pleasant Grove city librarians are frustrated.

April Harmer, assistant librarian, said someone called up and asked for some current stock market quotes and she had to say the library did not have access to that information."The man said he would have to go to a bigger library," Harmer said. "Just once I would like to be able to say, `Just a moment,' go to the computer and call up the information."

Though Pleasant Grove's library building is only 3 years old, the new exterior belies some of the old equipment and books inside.

Harmer said use of the library has drastically increased since it was built, and because the building is so visible, people expect more.

Library Director Jean Gifford said, "When you only have a yearly book budget of $10,000 you can't do much, especially when the needs are so widespread."

The total budget is inadequate. Gifford said the state library board has told them they need $9-$10 per capita to function properly and, according to the State Library Division's 1989 report, Pleasant Grove is running on just over $3 per capita.

Harmer said, "We should have double the number of books in the library to service the population we have in this town."

An educated population also translates into a safer place to live, she said. The Pleasant Grove City Council is toying with the idea of a slight property tax increase that would go exclusively to fund the library.

Harmer said a person with a $75,000 home would see an increase of approximately $18 a year, which would mean about 35 cents per week per house.

Updating the book collection is the first concern. Harmer said the library especially needs new titles in the applied and social sciences. The library does not have up-to-date information on recent advances in medicine and in world politics.

"New books are more expensive than many people think," Harmer said. The library's maximum overdue fine of $3 could not replace even one book.

According to Gifford, adding 1,000 books a year to the library's collection is not adequate, because that many can be lost or worn out.

Gifford also said people have requested overhead projectors, typewriters and opaque projectors, and the library does not have the funds to provide these services.

Library patrons - about 80,000 last year - also want extended hours. Right now, the library is open only in the afternoons and weekday evenings.

The librarians said they believe a tax increase is the only way to fund the library because they can't always rely on donations, though many in the city have already been very generous.

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(Additional information)

Library funding comparison

1989 library Expenditure

budget per capita

Santaquin $6,978 $2.58

Pleasant Grove 60,009 3.20

Payson 59,280 6.06

Lehi 64,241 7.79

American Fork 169,430 8.37

Provo 709,680 9.69

Spanish Fork 113,366 10.17

Springville 176,786 13.10

Orem 974,047 15.12

State average expenditure per capita - $13.64

Source: State Library Division