Letter from the mayor, chair of the commission: Both libraries will be open

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Dec. 22—JAMESTOWN — Both libraries of the James River Valley Library System will continue to operate unless a transition plan is submitted to the city of Jamestown and Stutsman County for approval, says a letter interpreting the memorandum of understanding between the two entities to provide joint library services.

The James River Valley Library System Board of Directors was sent a Dec. 16 letter by Mark Klose (chair of the Stutsman County Commission) that stated, “The language of this memorandum of understanding is clear, unless and till a plan is developed and approved for both buildings to continue to operate.”

Pam Phillips (board president) read the letter to library board members at their meeting on Wednesday Dec. 21.

Heinrich explained that the purpose for the joint letter was reminding the board that it operates under a memorandum agreement between the city of Jamestown and the county.

He said, “The memorandum gives the board some direction as to how they should fulfill their responsibilities.” “Sometimes it is just a good idea to remind people, a council or any other type of organization, what the parameters are for them to operate.”

According to the letter, North Dakota Century Code 4038-11 allows a county and a city to provide library services together. Lines 139 to 142 of the memorandum confirm that both buildings will be operated as directed by the joint librarian board.

The agreement states that “if the JLB (joint librarian board) decides to reduce or discontinue use of one or both existing facilities, then the JLB will design a plan for transitioning to the new design.”

Klose claimed in a telephone interview, that Heinrich and him had agreed to interpret the agreement. He stated that the two were not trying to modify it.

Each Jamestown City Council approved a one-year extension to the memorandum o agreement between Stutsman County Commission and Jamestown. It also extended by one an annual the period in which each entity could give notice of their intention to withdraw. The agreement is valid for five years after the date of its effective, which was March 2023. It is self-renewable for subsequent five-year terms.

Sarah Hellekson, city administrator, stated at the library board meeting, “If you want out of the whole arrangement.

Heinrich stated that the memorandum can be rewritten at any time if it is jointly approved by both the Jamestown City Council, and the Stutsman County Commission.

He said, “Our goal is to make the board work as it was intended under the previously signed memorandum. of agreement.” “We tried not to get involved in it and that’s what we really want to do.

Klose stated that the renewal time is rapidly approaching.

He stated, “I am aware that the city is interested in getting something before its extension or not.” “My intention was not to resolve this problem.

He stated that he would be interested to learn the plans for the future. He stated that he had heard that the library system planned to purchase property in order to build a new library, but he isn’t certain what exactly is happening.

Klose, for example, asked what would happen to a library that was closed. He stated that he wanted to know the financial impact of closing a library.

“If one of them decides to go away, what’s the plan?” he asked. “If you’re going to close one, what’s the plan?”

Klose stated that no side will win if Jamestown or Stutsman County operate their respective libraries in their own ways.

Voters approved a 2008 measure to create a joint library board. In 2009, the James River Valley Library System came into being when Alfred Dickey and Stutsman County were legal combined. 75% of the voters in the city passed a measure to create a joint library service between Jamestown and Stutsman County. 66% of the voters in the county also passed the measure.

Klose stated that “that was the wish of the voters.” “We cannot ignore that.”

Library board members also visited Alfred Dickey Public Library, to check out the extent of damage caused by a burst pipe.

Water came from the pipe that burst in the staff toilet in the northeast corner, on the upper-level of the library.

Alfred Dickey’s basement library had approximately one inch of water, and the circulation desk on main level had about a quarter of an inch.

Joan Morris, a county commission member, was appointed to the library boards. She suggested that library staff have a disaster recovery plan. Also, she suggested some mitigation factors for how to avoid things from getting worse such as what happened following the burst pipe. She suggested that sensors could be purchased to let staff know the temperature and when water is not where it should be.

Joe Rector, director of the library system, stated that community members have asked library staff for help. He stated that the Friends of the James River Valley Library System are meeting Thursday, December 22, to coordinate any efforts.

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