Municipalities discuss Twin Lakes Community Library contract changes

Photo by Sanja Gjenero via

There was about 80 minutes of discussion Wednesday night in Paddock Lake about — but little apparent support for — changes to the Community Library governing contract to segregate funds by what municipality they originated from.

Representatives of the five member municipalities — and in some cases their municipal attorneys — met at Paddock Lake Village Hall. On the agenda were some changes Twin Lakes is proposing to the governing agreement.

The five member municipalities are Salem, Twin Lakes, Paddock Lake, Randall and Silver Lake.

Twin Lakes Village President Howard Skinner acknowledged that some costs for the library need to be paid out of a common pool, like administration. However, he said his municipality would like to see surplus funds be desiugnated for spending in the municipalities where they came from.

“What we’re looking to do … is to make the agreement more equitable for all parties,” Skinner said.

But Paddock Lake village President and Library Board member Marlene Goodson attacked the idea that funds should be segregated as Skinner suggested, emphasizing that the joint library is built around all parities contributing to wherever money needs to be spent. She also said the Salem building is the main library for the system and that the other locations — in Silver Lake and Twin Lakes — are not true branches but “glorified bookmobiles.”

“If you feel you wanted a library, why are you part of the Community Library system?”  Goodson asked Skinner. “It’s fair for (Twin Lakes funds) to go the the library (as a whole).”

Ken Mangold, a representative from Randall and the current Library Board president, said he appreciated Twin Lakes concerns about not enough money being spent at the Twin Lakes library site in the past. But he pointed to changes made over the last couple of years that he feels have addresseed most of those concerns.

“I think, Howard, this is two years too late,” Mangold said. “I think we’re doing everything now that this letter is asking for except segregation of funds.”

The letter Mangold referred to was a Jan. 12 letter from Twin Lakes to the other municipalities outlining their requested changes.

There was little support anywhere else around the table for Twin Lakes’ position.

“I’m opposed to having everything broken out,” said Salem town Chairman Linda Valentine. “I don’t think it’s the right thing to do. It undermines the idea of a community library. … If you really want it to be just Twin Lakes, then cut to the quick. Do it.”

Skinner said the next step will be for him to bring the matter back to his Village Board for a decision.

Twin Lakes Trustee Kevin Fitzgerald spoke from the audience. He said he was not eager to separate from the Community Library — comparing it to a messy divorce. But he also  said he saw little in Tuesday’s meeting to make him believe he should vote to stay.

“It seems like the other communities aren’t understanding that we are looking at a history and we are looking for assurances,” Fitzgerald said. “I’m not seeing any willingness to move.”

Douglas Baker, director of the Kenosha County Library System, downplayed the differences between the sides and urged more time to work our what differences there might be.

“There’s minor differences here …,” Baker said. “I think we’re going on a good path here.”

Skinner said the next step is for the Twin Lakes Village Board to decided if it wants to stay in the Community Library without the sought changes, or pull out and form it’s own village library. Asked how he assessed the message of the other municipalities Tuesday, Skinner said: “There’s the door, how else do you take it?”



  1. Linda Hubbard says:

    As a long time user of the Twin Lakes Community Library, I am worried about the current controversy surrounding funding and possible separation of our branch from the Community Library. Where would Twin Lakes get funding for its own library, and would the resources available to a larger library system still be available to our community? If funding is the problem, will separating from the Community Library system generate more or less revenue for Twin Lakes branch?

    I especially resented it being called a “glorified bookmobile” by Marlene Goodson, no matter what she is the president or board member of. My famiy and I have used the Twin Lakes branch since it was the actual “bookmobile” back in the 80’s and believe we do need a larger building to house our library.

  2. David Cox says:

    Ms. Hubbard (and all West of the I readers), the Village Board will carefully examine the very issues you discuss. In accordance with State Law, the Village currently funds the Community Library through the Village Tax Levy. The amount is set through a formula involving the tax levied by the County for library services and in 2011 that amount is about $256,000. Those funds would be redirected to a Twin Lakes municipal library should the Village determine it is appropriate to separate. Additional funding would likely come from other sources including use of the library by non-residents. The Village is considering its next steps carefully and will explore all aspects of staying in the Community Library system versus establishing a separate library prior to making a decision. Once a meeting date is set by the Village Board, watch your favorite local media outlet or the Village website for an announcement. Thank you for your interest, David Cox, Village Administrator.

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