CORINTH — A recent partnership between Corinth and the Denton Public Library will allow residents to use Denton’s library service for a reduced price, finally ending Corinth’s long-standing agreement with the Lake Cities Library.
The Corinth City Council unanimously approved an agreement with the Denton Public Library on Thursday night during a council meeting that officials say will be a cheaper option for residents and Corinth.
The council agreed to spend $10,000 to purchase 400 library cards for residents, who can purchase them for $25 per household beginning in April. The council also agreed to pay an additional $1,000 to the library for administrative and supply costs.
Council member Lowell Johnson said he’s excited about the wider selection of services offered by the Denton Public Library.
“I’m particularly excited that the city will offer the e-library services,” he said. “I think it’s the way to go, considering more people use their tablets to read.”
The city previously partnered with the Lake Cities Library, but last fall officials decided to cut ties with the library.
Corinth city officials had complained that the approximate $90,000 a year they paid for services from the Lake Cities Library was more than their fair share based on how much their residents used the library’s services.
The other cities that fund the Lake Cities Library include Hickory Creek, Shady Shores and Lake Dallas, and those residents can use the services for free.
But to lessen the impact of removing city funding, the Corinth council agreed to fund the Lake Cities Library through March 31.
The vote to end the partnership forced the library to make deep cuts and make changes to fees, according to library officials. At least one employee was terminated and another was moved to part time.
Last month, the Lake Cities Library Board voted to stop accepting funds from the county, which now allows the library to begin charging residents living in unincorporated areas.
Under the new policy, the library will begin charging $50 for library cards, with a family cap of $200, for Corinth residents and unincorporated county residents to use the library, Lake Cities Library officials said.
Corinth council member Mike Amason was the first in September 2013 to propose implementing a replacement for Lake Cities Library services, which goes into effect beginning April 1.
Under the agreement with the Denton Public Library, the library has agreed to provide four annual youth programs and access to digital books, music and magazine selections.
In the months before the Thursday night meeting, city officials said the relationship with the Lake Cities Library became strained over the cost of services.
The library’s board members gave a few presentations to the council to justify the cost, but in most cases the city was left with more questions than answers.
Mayor Paul Ruggiere said the perception among several council members, “right or wrong,” is that Corinth has been paying a disproportionate share of the library costs, based on its usage of the library.
He added that in the end, the council was not convinced that the library’s data supported its request.
However, Lake Cities Library board member Mike Knox said he gave the council everything members requested and more.
Knox said the library will continue to serve the local community and do the best it can to grow despite the cuts.
“We’ll be fine,” he said.
For more information about the Denton Public Library’s services, visit library.cityofdenton.com or call 940-349-8752.
JOHN D. HARDEN can be reached at 940-566-6882 and via Twitter at @JDHarden.