It's been six years since the Carthage Public Library has operated under full-time hours.

It's been six years since the Carthage Public Library has operated under full-time hours.

After Feb. 3, 2014, patrons may access the library 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Tuesday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Wednesday-Friday, and from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday. Library director Julie Yockey is beyond excited for the ironic day.

“What's so ironic is that the library first opened Feb. 3, 1905,” she said. “The City of Carthage realized the need of this community to be able to have access to the library, and the council voted unanimously to give us more in the budget to keep our doors open full-time.”

In November, the city approved a budget amendment for the library. The original budget gave the library $107,196 for operating expenses out of the Park / Stormwater Fund. The $107,196 was divided two ways: $45,000 for a book matching grant and $62,196 for operating. The amendment that follows allows the $45,000 to be spent as the library board chooses (no more matching grant) and then gives them “up to $40,000” additional funds on top of the $62,196. In reality, it is less than $40,000 since it began Dec. 1, 2013.

The amendment states: “SECTION VII: The City of Carthage’s 2013 - 2014 Annual Operating and Capital Budget is hereby amended to reflect a supplemental appropriation of up to $40,000 to the Parks / Stormwater Sales Tax Fund payments to Library line item for additional operating expenses to resume normal operating hours. The $45,000 Books Matching Grant previously granted by the Council could be used for purposes as determined the Library Board.

“SECTION VIII: This ordinance shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage and approval.
“PASSED AND APPROVED THIS DAY    12th      OF   November  , 2013.”

Yockey said the library has made three new hires, bringing the library staff up to 16.
Last year, the library received new computers for the children's section through the Community Foundation of the Ozarks, and the Library Development Foundation replaced the rest of the library's computers (more than 30). Yockey said the new Missouri Evergreen Consortium catalog system is working great for patrons and other interested readers across the state.

“We can access 13 other libraries across Missouri,” she said. “And we have a very historical collection of unique books at our library, so we get a lot of requests for our books.”

The library currently has a collection of more than 16,000 e-books, and will soon offer classes to patrons on how to use them.

Fun Library Facts
In 1902, philanthropist Andrew Carnegie offered $25,000 to build a public library if the citizens would vote a tax to support a library and if the city could provide a suitable location for a building. In 1905, the first book to be checked out was “Ben Hur.”