Library is hub of Savonburg

Register Editor

Register/Susan Lynn
Savonburg residents hosted Thrive Allen County at their community center Monday night. From left are Kathy Hale, Robin Betts, Leon Johnson, Gene and Joann Wolfe of Savonburg, and Peg Griffith of Humboldt.

SAVONBURG — The library in Savonburg is the place to be. For books and magazines, access to computers, movies, video games — in short, entertainment.
It is the small town’s only “store,” though of course most of its items are free to consumers.
After school, it’s where most grade-schoolers come to hang out.
For a facility that is so well used, it’s poorly funded, forcing it to be closed much more than it’s open: 12 hours a week, four hours each on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
It has a one-woman staff, Robin Betts, whose salary eats up half of its annual $10,000 budget.
The library is needed “every day,” Betts said, but the reality is that a tax base supported by 90-100 residents, just doesn’t fund very much.

BETTS addressed members of Thrive Allen County in Savonburg’s community center Monday night. She and about a dozen Savonburg residents discussed their city’s hopes and needs.
Because the library serves as the hub of the small town, its viability is crucial, Betts said. Besides city support, the library benefits to a greater extent by being included in the Southeast Kansas Library System.
“That’s why the library is such a success,” Betts said, crediting the SEKLS as providing “guidance, leadership, continuing education and support.”
Thrive member Nancy Maier encouraged Betts to apply for grants from organizations with which Thrive is familiar to help boost its bottom line.
David Toland, Thrive executive director, said he and Sunny Shreeve, Thrive program director, would meet with Betts the first week of September to flesh out some funding possibilities.
Extending the library’s hours would be of an immediate advantage, especially to Savonburg youths who are as comfortable in the library as their homes, Betts said.
Besides the library, citizens also expressed a desire for their children to be included in the summer transportation service to Iola Municipal Pool.
This summer, Savonburg children were picked up in Elsmore for the service.
If a pickup could be arranged for Savonburg, residents assured Thrive there would be a healthy participation. Moran residents organized the service through their Thrive spinoff group. A bus picked up children in Elsmore, Moran and LaHarpe to bring them to Iola’s pool twice a week. The last week of the service included a pickup in Savonburg, at which one boy participated.
With better publicity, Savonburg residents said most of its 30-plus children would enjoy the opportunity to visit Iola’s pool.
Little else was on the citizens’ agenda. Its senior citizens faithfully meet once a month in the community center. Since the last Thrive meeting in Savonburg a year ago September, arrangements were made through former Moran Manor administrator Jennifer Fox to have a nurse from the Manor come to Savonburg on a routine basis to check the blood pressures and sugar levels of its elderly. That commitment was kept and seniors enjoy the free monthly service, they said.
They expressed no crying need for any other services such as public transportation, they said, and were content to continue their self-reliant ways.
They expressed no loyalty to any city, saying they spread their shopping and medical visits between the three cities of Iola, Chanute and Fort Scott, which are all relatively equidistant to the town.
The city keeps citizens abreast of events through a quarterly newsletter.
Betts agreed to become a Register Correspondent, supplying the Iola paper with a weekly column of Savonburg events and news-related items.