Library Director Dicusses Change to 'Endowment Challenge'

Wyoming Sen. Bruce Burns. Photo by Hananh Stepenoff.
Wyoming Sen. Bruce Burns. Photo by Hananh Stepenoff.

At last week's Legislative Forum held at the Sheridan City Hall, Director of the Sheridan County Fulmer Public Library Cameron Duff addressed state legislators about a proposed change to the “endowment challenge", which involves the division of a $18 million Wyoming Libraries Endowment fund among all the county libraries throughout the state.

Since passed as legislation in 2008, he said, the challenge's basic premise involves a matching system in which each county library is tasked to raise a certain amount of funds to receive a certain amount of money from the endowment. The counties are divided in to three categories by their specific valuation to determine matching funds they will receive from the state, if they reach their goal.

He said Sheridan County has already met its goal of around $350,000 raised, and is a 2-to-1 county, meaning for every dollar the county raised, the state matched $2. Only two other counties have made their fund raising goals and have subsequently received matching funds.

To avoid the funds being reverted back to the state in 2016, he said, many of the county libraries' directors suggested an adjustment to the challenge by using funds raised by successful counties as leverage for counties that have not hit the required goal.

Duff clarified that donations made to participating libraries would be pledged to help other counties, but would not leave the county the money was intended for. Wyoming Sen. Bruce Burns wondered if the process would be voluntary among each county.

In addition to Burns, Sen. Dave Kinskey and state Reps. Mark Jennings, Rosie Berger and John Patton were in attendance.

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