Maryville Public Library opened its doors in 1905, making this year its 110th year anniversary.
Stephanie Patterson has been the director of the Maryville Public Library for seven years. Patterson is a St. Joseph native, but has been living in Maryville as long as she has been the director of the Library.
Patterson explained the age groups that are most common at the library are from infant to grade school and elderly. The majority of the book clubs are geared towards the children.
This summer’s reading program was the first time in years they had a small decline. The public library has other reading programs as well as non reading programs, such as a Lego club.
The library does not have a lot of adult programs.
“Most people want to see more young children programs, but that’s where our funding falls short,” Patterson said. “Programming costs money, as in staff, organizing, planning, volunteers, prizes, and providing books.”
The Maryville Public Library is funded by property tax revenue from city residents and businesses. Maryville is the largest city in Nodaway County, making it the prime location for a county library.
In the past 110 years of service, the library has tried several times to pass a tax law to expand the library’s services to the entire county.
On three separate occasions; 1965, 1993 and this year (2015), the library asked county taxpayers outside of Maryville to vote to pay a tax fee of 15 cents per $100 of assessed property valuation. Like the two times before, the tax was not passed.
“People in the county are already paying a lot of money to their small county schools; it’s not that they didn’t like the idea of a county library, they just didn’t have the money to spare,” Patterson said.
Students at Northwest Missouri State University can use the Maryville Public Library with their student I.D.
The public library has a one-page application, which requires a photo I.D. and two proofs of residency in Maryville. If a student lives on campus, the student can ask an Resident Hall assistant for a letter of residency.
The same goes for Maryville Public Library users; if a public library card holder wants to use the B.D. Owens Library on Northwest’s campus, they can.
The collaboration between the two libraries was explained by Patterson.
“I was pleasantly surprised when I got here (director) that Maryville residents and Northwest students are allowed to use both libraries,” she said.
Most college students in Maryville use the B.D. Owens Library instead of the Maryville Public Library.
Leslie Galbreath, Dean of Academic and Library Services at B.D. Owens, enjoys the collaboration with the Maryville Public Library.
Being a Maryville resident, Galbreath was disappointed about the tax not getting passed; rather she said “bring it on!”
Galbreath has been working for the University for 30 years, with six of those years as the dean of Academic and Library Services.
The biggest struggle is that B.D. Owens and the public library can share resources but not funding. B.D. Owens provides space for its students and faculty to study and use their resources.
B.D. Owens also provides food and drink, allowing students and residents alike to study or socialize in a coffee shop environment called Novel Grounds, which serves Starbucks coffee.
“It was not as much about coffee as it was about feeding the students,” Galbreath said
The two major libraries in Maryville work together for a common good. Providing services to all ages of life, these two organizations are truly setting examples on how to work with one another for the benefit of the future.