Wednesday, May 23, 2018
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Bedford Branch Library marks anniversaries

Monroe County Library System celebrating 80 years


Jodi Russ, community librarian at the Bedford Branch Library puts up an 80th anniversary display for the Monroe County Library System. The Bedford branch has been on Jackman Road 40 years.

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TEMPERANCE — Staff at the Bedford Branch Library celebrated Patron Appreciation Week with displays and treats, and took the opportunity to observe library anniversaries in Bedford Township and Monroe County.

Set up at the front of the Bedford Branch last week were photos of the original library building, which opened almost 40 years ago on April 28, 1974, at the same location, 8575 Jackman Rd. It was a staid but functional building, and 10 years ago was renovated and expanded after Bedford voters approved a tax.

PHOTO GALLERY: Bedford Branch Library celebration

This anniversary coincides with the 80th anniversary of the Monroe County Library System, which got its start in 1934 through the efforts of Lillian Navarre and the Monroe group of the University of Michigan Women, funding from the federal Civil Works Administration, and Ford’s Dry Goods Store in Dundee, which was made available as the first branch by the intercession of Dr. J.H. MacMillan and the Exchange Club. The county system today has 16 branches.

“It’s a big year,” explained Jodi Russ, the Bedford Branch community librarian, who reshelved books at the original Bedford Branch building as a Bedford Junior High School student.

For Patron Appreciation Week, the Friends of the Bedford Branch Library bought doughnuts and hot chocolate.

The county library system pays the Bedford Branch’s salaries and provides materials and computers, but maintenance and operation of the building itself is paid with funds from the 0.75-mill levy that voters approved for the renovation project. The tax expired in 2012.

Township voters will decide on a 0.25-mill request to replace it on Aug. 5. The millage would generate $245,000 each year for five years, and cost the typical township homeowner $22 annually.

The Bedford Branch has not spent all of the money it received from the expired township levy. Ms. Russ said it has about $700,000 in reserves to cover unexpected expenses and hoped-for improvements, such as $30,000 to $40,000 to repave its cracked and pothole-riddled parking lot. She noted too that the rest of 2014’s operational and maintenance expenses must be paid from the funds.

The building’s 10-year-old boilers are a cause of concern, she said. Plans this year include replacement of carpeting in the main area.

When bids for new carpeting in the children’s department came in at $12,000, the library instead decided to hire a carpet installer to replace only the worn letters and hieroglyphic patterns. The cost: $250.

“We’re using our resources as sensibly as we can,” Ms. Russ said.

Contact Carl Ryan at: or 419-724-6095.

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