Save Clark Memorial Library

Retain the library. Restore a librarian. Raise a Friends Group

Keeping Clark Memorial Library on the page…

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When the Clarkdale Town Council voted to defund Clark Memorial Library on May 23, 2017, it appeared the Red Bull was about to shove CML onto the slagheap of passé pursuits. But community protest had caught the attention of Yavapai County Free Library District Director Corey Christians, and, with support from Clarkdale Town Manager Gayle Mabery and County Supervisor Randy Garrison, a resuscitation solution was devised that reopened the library under YCFLD management. On October 19th, its 90th birthday, CML was fully back on the page.

But the Red Bull is still alive, and apathy is its ally. Community involvement is a library’s best defense. Hold back the bull, Clarkdalians! Patronize, and get involved in helping CML perform its paramount task of nurturing public literacy.

This site documents efforts to keep CML open and to reopen it after closure. It is currently dormant but may become active again in the future. If you would like to keep informed, click here and then click on the “Follow SaveCML” button in the right column. To find out what’s currently happening at the library, visit http://clarkmemoriallibrary.org.

Heartfelt thanks from the SaveCML Squad for your support.

The Cause for Alarm

The Community Services Commission’s recommendation that the Town Council close Clark Memorial Library caught most Clarkdale residents unaware. Like the denizens of the Lilac Wood in Peter S. Beagle’s The Last Unicorn, in January 2017, most CML patrons hadn’t a clue bean counters could shove their historic hometown library onto the slagheap of passé pursuits. In February, even less aware that sleepy bastions of individual recognizance are being swept out the world over, occasional library visitors stared in amazement at wild-eyed bibliophiles babbling, “Our library! They’re gonna close our library!” But here the analogy falters.

This being Clarkdale, Verde Valley, Yavapai County, Arizona, USA, Planet Earth, of course there were many omens anyone keeping a judicious eye on the Town’s fortunes could easily have read. And far from unicorns guarding a community haven, the library staff was aware of and did nothing to avert impending doom. Without even a Lorax to speak for the A B C’s, a misguided recommendation transmogrified into a welcome wagon for the Very Big, Very Hairy, and Very, Very Red Bull. A creature that delights in driving responsible administrators into counter-productive expediencies.

Clarkdale does have a revenue deficiency, compounded by County, State, and Federal deficiencies. The Town is understaffed relative to its somewhat bloated neighbors. CML can’t boast of “bursting at the seams” the way Cottonwood, Sedona, and Camp Verde public libraries do regularly. Aaaaah! How can we justify retaining a 90-year-old institution that currently doesn’t have the grant potential of the RAPs? But if the Council doesn’t keep CML on the page, the Town will lose an annual $36,000 or more in Yavapai County Library Network revenue sharing—nearly half of the FY2017 Library budget. And it will still be paying the current staff in another capacity.

Crisis!!! No public library can survive bull-driven thinking.

To save our library, concerned citizens must…

  • Convince the Town Council they recognize the library’s value to Clarkdale.
    (As of May 23, concerned Clarkdalians accomplished this by e-mailing, snail-mailing, and crowding three separate Council meetings. No one can pretend Clarkdale doesn’t need or want its community library.)
  • Regain a dedicated librarian to manage and defend the library.
    (As of June 20, the Yavapai County Free Library District has proposed a way to regain a librarian.)
    (As of September 6, 2017—YCBOS approved the IGA with the Town of Clarkdale, paving the way for the Yavapai County Free Library District to reopen CML under County management.)
    (As of September 7, 2017—Library District Director Corey Christians told the Friends of Clark Memorial Library CML’s new librarian could be in place within 3 weeks of the Town of Clarkdale’s IGA approval.)
    (Therefore, an October 19 Grand Reopening Celebration and Book Sale is eminently feasible and desirable. As Clarkdale’s Vice-Mayor would say, STAY TUNED!)
  • Form an active independent library support group.
    (As of June 1—this coalesced quickly. You can see Friends of Clark Memorial Library develop in recent blog posts. Contact Jimmy Salmon at Friends@ClarkMemorialLibrary.org to become a visible part of whatever it takes to keep our library on the page.)
    (As of July 12—Friends of Clark Memorial Library’s application as an Arizona nonprofit was approved by the AZ Corp. Commission.)
    (As of August 8—Friends of Clark Memorial Library received 501(c)(3) tax exempt status from the IRS with effective date retroactive to July 12, 2017)

The SaveCML Squad materialized to bring concerned citizens together to accomplish these tasks.
(Substantial progress has been made in pushing back the Red Bull. But we still need a concerted effort to reconnect Clarkdalians with their library.)

The blog provides backgrounders, news, and calls to action. Here are the most recent updates:

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