By Charles Chandler, N3 Special Correspondent for White Cloud and Beyond
About 7:30 AM last Thursday N3 found Pat and Orrie Ebenstein at City Hall doing what they have always done, serving their community to the best of their ability. Orrie was attending the monthly Parks and Recreation committee meeting and Pat was there to swear in for another term on the White Cloud Community Library board.
Orrie and Pat are beloved to all that know them and are living examples of altruistic service. They have committed a large part of their lives and resources in the services of others. Orrie is a member of Rotary, has served on various City boards and committees and with his favorites the Boy Scouts of America. Pat has served for about 60 years with the area Blood Bank, about 50 years with the United Way and about 40 years on the White Cloud Community Library Board.
This is a very important time for the Community Library because there is a millage campaign underway to raise money to build a new Library. For those that use the Community Library the reason for the campaign is obvious, the building no longer works. The Library has been in its current building, which previously had been a funeral parlor, for about 40 years. It is outdated and with every possible inch of the building being used it can no longer adequately serve the high volume of people that visit the Library every day and every minute that it is open.
After the swearing in the N3 Correspondent asked Pat and Orrie to sit with us for a few minutes and talk about the Library and tell us why it is so important that we build a new Community Library. According to Pat, “I believe a Library is an important and integral part of a community and we need more room to provide the necessary resources and services to our patrons.
“About 60 years ago a group of us started a library here in White Cloud. We were located downtown in a store front in the Moore building then moved to the Bill Brant Building and eventually outgrew that space. Then about 40 years ago we moved from the Brant Building to where we are now at 1038 E. Wilcox Ave. The day that we moved all the members of the Community that were big enough to hold a book turned out and we formed a line up Main Street and we passed all the books from person to person until we had them all moved.
“Now we have outgrown this location and our ability to serve our patrons and Community. Many of our area children come to the Library after school and use our computers and other resources to do their homework. Many don’t have computers at home or need a safe place to wait to be picked up. These kids need their own space to watch their movies and do their programs and activities.
“Many of our seniors don’t have computers either and come to the Library for those services or for users like us that want to hold and read from a paper book and not a computer. It is also a place where many can pick up a book and travel anywhere in the world, either because they don’t have the means to do so or because they are no longer physically able. A library is much more than just books it has a social connection and demonstrates pride and commitment to the community. A Library is like a good friend, one that is always there for you.”
Yep, Pat. Kind of reminds me of you and Orrie.
Some quick facts about the White Cloud Community Library.
In 2016, 70,000 items were circulated, 5,721 people used the computers, 2,000 items were borrowed from other libraries for patrons, 3,550 items were loaned to other libraries, and 389 children attended programs developed especially for them. During each visit to the Library a patron checks out four items with an average total value of about $80.00 and at no cost themselves.
The Library Millage Vote is Tuesday, August 8, 2017 and “the cost of .9 mill to the average White Cloud School District homeowner will be about $35.00 a year or less than $1.00 a week.”
Many feel that it is time to stop kicking this old can down the street. Our Community, our children, our seniors and especially people like Pat and Orrie need and deserve a great library.