The Parker Town Council approved some purchases for the Parker Public Library at their Sept. 6 meeting. These included new furniture, tables and computers for the children’s and teens’ rooms. These items will be paid for through a $200,000 grant from the AZ on Track Summer Camp Program through the Governor’s Office that the library was awarded earlier this summer. The grant came through the Arizona Library Association.
When the library was awarded these funds in June, Library Director Tracy McConnell said they wanted to use them for new furniture and to upgrade their computers.
There will be no impact to the Town’s general fund.
McConnell told the council the furniture in the teen room needed to be upgraded, and the children’s room hadn’t been updated in 10 years. She said the furniture and theme are geared more towards young children, and they’re hoping to be more appealing to older children.
In looking for a vendor for new furniture, McConnell said she contacted Demco, a firm that specializes in library furniture. She was able to negotiate a total charge of $36,740.75, which is a savings of over $2,500 from their original quote. McConnell said she also sought quotes from other vendors, but they could not beat Demco’s offer. She added none of these items could be purchased from “Big Box” stores like Walmart.
The library also purchased four crescent-shaped tables and four tables with dry-erase boards for use during programming and special events. They also purchased some puppets for the children’s room. McConnell said she was able to get a quote of $7,045.24 from Demco. She said they were able to find tables like these at only one other vendor, Next Gen Furniture. Their quote was $4,000 more than Demco.
The final purchase was for 10 new computers for the teen room and children’s room from Dell. The total cost is $15,000. McConnell said their current computers are eight years old and are wearing out. She said they need to be replaced.
McConnell said that, to keep up with requirements for grants, they have to conduct reading tests on the students who participate in the summer reading program.
“It was a struggle having them use our current computers,” McConnell said. “We had to get out laptops because the computers were freezing.”
She said she hoped the computers could be ordered and delivered by the next round of testing.
In June, Library spokesperson Fenix Markel said they were one of 12 libraries to receive funding from the AZ on Track Summer Camp Program and they received the largest amount.
McConnell said she first learned of these funds when she was contacted by Lisa Lewis, the President of the Arizona Library Association. While most grant applications are a lengthy process, McConnell said Lewis called her and asked if she was interested. When McConnell said she was, Lewis asked her to send some information regarding the library by that same evening.