Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Solid Returns For Your Tax Investment (Then & Now)

The minutes of MPL Board of Trustees meetings provide a wealth of information about month-to-month issues facing the Library over the past century.  These meetings are open to the public, and, accordingly, the minutes are public records.  So we can snoop around a bit and discover some interesting details about the Library’s history.

Consider an entry from January 4, 1974.  Librarian and MPL Director Bonita Marley gave the Board a year-end report for 1973, and the Board voted on salary schedules for the Library staff.  These were:

  • Bonita Marley:                   $525/month
  • Wanda Potts:                      $395/month
  • Myrtle Keller:                     $145/month
  • Children’s Librarian:          $1.60/hour
  • Pages:                                 85 cents to $1 per hour, depending upon experience
  • Custodian:                          $100/month

Wanda, you may recall, was Assistant Director/Indiana Room Librarian.  Myrtle was Head of Circulation.  There was a separate youth services librarian, four teenaged pages, and a custodian.

What were salaries for 1975?

  • Bonita Marley:                     $6,900/year
  • Wanda Potts:                        $5,160/year
  • Myrtle Keller:                        $1,980/year
  • Mattie Lundy:                        $1,257.80/year
  • Cindy Breedlove:                  $2.10/hour
  • Cindy Johnson:                     $2/hour
  • Bonnie Hamilton:                  $2/hour
  • Debby Kouns:                       $2/hour
  • Andrea Tucker:                     $2/hour

Mattie was the custodian.  Cindy Breedlove was the “assistant children’s director,” and Cindy J., Bonnie, Debby and Andrea were pages (Mooresville High School students).

Nobody could accuse library employees of getting rich.

You may know some of these folks, as several still live in Indiana, and many have family still living in Morgan County or vicinity.  Each was hard-working, dedicated to the Library and its patrons, and committed to providing quality public service.  When one considers how little they earned, even for the mid-1970s, their dedication leaps off the page (or screen, since this blog is on the Internet).

Salaries have risen since those days over 35 years ago, but they remain considerably beneath what similarly skilled workers command in the private sector (or in federal or even some state or local governmental positions).  That means Library staff are making sacrifices in earning potential, the impact of which is clearly felt at home among their families.  Consider the value and quality of library employees’ services to the public in the taxing district.  Citizens of Mooresville and Brown Township have long received an excellent return for their tax dollars allocated to MPL.  Remember, too, that the Library’s legions of volunteers receive no compensation for their many contributions.  That’s another, even greater value for tax dollars invested in the Library.

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