The only way that Jane Alexander, a single mother in Hallsville, and her three children can currently access the library is by doing a lot of driving.
“I work in Columbia, but my kids go to school here,” Alexander said. “When we want to go to the library, I have to drive from Columbia,
pick up my kids in Hallsville and then drive back into Columbia. If there were a library
here, I would be able to go much more frequently.”
On Tuesday night, the Daniel Boone Regional Library board of trustees heard Alexander’s story, along with those of the 19 other Hallsville residents who attended the meeting at the Hallsville Community Center. The meeting was organized by the library board’s Election Review Committee, a group formed in response to the failure of a property tax increase on the April 3 ballot that would have funded two new Boone County libraries.
“Those plans are dead; it’s over,” said Tom Richards, the Election Review Committee organizer. “We’re starting from scratch. We did go through a lot to make those plans, but they were the wrong plans.”
The library’s board of trustees was pleased with Tuesday night’s meeting.
“I thought it was great that so many people turned up,” said library trustee Lynn Hostetler after the meeting. “Almost everybody spoke. It was exactly what we were looking for.”
The most repeated suggestions made by the Hallsville community members related to the location of the two proposed libraries and the 21-cent property tax, which they said was too high. Several residents brought up the building that houses the Columbia library, which they called “extravagant.”
“If you want me to support this, you will have to move it farther north and build it for less money than the amount proposed,” said Charles Sievert, a Hallsville resident with grandchildren in Harrisburg. “We want ordinary furniture, books and computers. We’re a conservative community and we want it as cheap as you can give it to us.”
The two proposed libraries would have been located in Ashland and at the Boone County Fairgrounds.
“Putting a library at the fairgrounds and saying it’s Hallsville’s library would be like putting a library in Rock Bridge and saying it’s Ashland’s,” said Raymond Davies, a Hallsville resident.
Most residents seemed supportive of a proposal made by Susan Daly and other Hallsville community members to put a library in Hallsville, close to the school.
“Hallsville is a growing community,” Daly said, addressing the board. “We want to start small, and we’re willing to help you.”