Kansas Libraries Struggling to Survive

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Thanks to Peggy Woods, the 400 residents of Gypsum have a working library.

It's in large room at the rear of the Gypsum City Office building. The library is lined nearly floor to ceiling with shelves of books, magazines and newspapers and two computers.

Woods gets seven dollars an hour and no employee benefits as the part-time librarian at Gypsum Community Library. She keeps the doors to the library open 14 hours a week.

These are challenging times for small rural public libraries in Kansas.

Because of declining population and a tiny property tax base, one-third of the 54 libraries that are part of the Central Kansas Library System can't raise enough tax revenue to pay a librarian to work just ten hours a week.

Still, small libraries work with limited funds. At Gypsum, the city council last month approved a library budget of just $7,400 for next year.