Solon Springs to reviewThe Joan Salmen Memorial Library in Solon Springs is busy. On average, 49.8 items are checked out every hour when the branch of the Superior Public Library is open.
By: Maria Lockwood, Superior Telegram
The Joan Salmen Memorial Library in Solon Springs is busy. On average, 49.8 items are checked out every hour when the branch of the Superior Public Library is open.
“In terms of circulation by hour, you could say it is one of the four busiest libraries in the Northern Waters Library System,” said Susan Heskin, director of the Superior Public Library. It is topped only by Superior at 126.6 and Hayward at 54.1. Ashland is tied with Solon Springs at 49.8.
“It’s extremely well-used for the amount of time it’s open,” Heskin said. Ten hours a week, the library provides books, CDS, a printer and four public access computers. In addition, wireless internet is available 24/7 from the library in the ground floor of the old village hall on Main Street.
Along with the public library, a free lending library is available to residents at the site. No numbers are kept on the number of books that flow through that library, which Patty Cosgrove helped establish in 1987.
Recently, the 13-year library partnership between Superior and Solon Springs came under scrutiny. According to Village President Mike Blaylock, Joan Salmen Library Board members expressed some concerns and issues with services the village provides.
“I went to the village board meeting to request assistance with the library,” said Julie Fromm, Joan Salmen Library board president including snow shoveling and plowing and someone to open and close the building.
“Patty’s been doing a lot of that stuff over the years,” Fromm said. “It’s time for them to step up to the plate here, and I think they will.”
Although the village has had a branch library agreement with the city of Superior since 2000, Village Board President Mike Blaylock said he didn’t know about it until Fromm’s presentation.
“They’re just becoming aware what their responsibilities are,” she said.
Blaylock even joined the library board, a move Fromm said will form a closer connection between village and library.
Cosgrove said one of the options he lofted at a June 27 library board meeting was to move the public library to the Community Center and the lending library to another site.
“We want to see it stay downtown to promote the village,” Cosgrove said. “It keeps something central in our community.” And splitting them up, she said, would make no sense.
Fromm said the village board is completely supportive of the library; they are just looking at all the options. And, she said, there would not be enough room at the community center.
“Nothing official has been done on the library,” said Blaylock. But, he said, it’s “definitely something the library board and village have to work together to solve.”
Another partner could be added to the mix. Although the contract is between the village of Solon Springs and city of Superior, the town of Solon Springs also contributes $1,800 yearly to the library. Depending on the year, town residents use the library more than village residents. In 2012, town circulation was 9,463 and village circulation was 7,355. The town might help more if asked, Cosgrove said. “It’s up to the village to ask them.”
The Joan Salmen Library Board meets at 2:30 p.m. Thursday to stuff 600 fundraising envelopes for improvements and updates at the site. Fromm said volunteers are always welcome. She also encouraged people to come out and use the library.
“I think a lot of folks don’t know it’s there,” she said.
The Solon Springs public library is open 2-7 p.m. Monday and 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Thursday. The lending library is open weekdays from about 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.