Changes coming to library

Things are going to change at the Columbia Township Library.

The library’s building is due to be expanded. The township plans to expand the building at 6456 Center Street to the north in order to turn the existing library into a community room that can be rented out for gatherings and which the township board will use for its monthly meetings. The library will be moved to the expanded section. In addition, office space will be created for township officials.

“We really don’t have a hall, per sè,” said Christina Kolar, township clerk and a member of the township’s library board. “We don’t really feel we need something to that degree.”

The township board made an adjustment to the library’s budget to account for architectural costs. Planning for the expansion is in its final stages, Kolar said, with the schedule calling for bids to be sought in early spring and construction to begin yet this year.

Library director Briynne McCrea also told the township board about people borrowing Wi-Fi hotspots from library and keeping them beyond the allowed time limit.

“We are having a little bit of an issue with people kind of trying to manipulate it a little bit as far as being able to hold onto them for more than one rental,” Kolar said. “She wants to make some adjustments to the hotspot policy for that reason. She wants to curb that a little bit.”

The library’s policy limits hotspot use to card-holding library patrons age 18 and older, provided they have filled out a technology lending agreement. They are allowed to keep them for a week. The devices are limited to one per household and the device, once returned, must stay in the library for at least 24 hours before another member of the same household can rent another. The device must be returned in person. The overdue cost is $1 per day and, if more than one day overdue, the device will be deactivated.

The purpose for the mobile hotspots, according to the library’s lending policy, is “to acknowledge the fundamental importance of equal access to the internet and technology in modern society. By providing the means to access the internet at home, the library can help connect members of the community to important resources and services even when the library building is closed.”

The township board also:

• Signed a contract with Wilkinson Corp. for dust control on the 26 miles of unpaved roads in the township. Two applications of calcium chloride brine will be made for $9,233.50.

• Heard from Timlick Road residents asking for extra gravel for their road. The township usually applies gravel on all of the unpaved roads, but this road may need a little extra. “We’ll have to wait until the weather breaks,” Kolar said.

Those residents also had an issue with snow plowing on Remington Road. Supervisor Kathy Trischler will call the Tuscola County Road Commission to make it aware of the issue.

• Adjusted the budget to account for additional professional services expenses and a contribution to Unionville Community Foundation.

• Heard from Akron-Fairgrove Schools Superintendent Diane Foster about the bond issue that will be on the May 7 ballot. The township has about 20 of the school district’s voters. Because of the small number of voters in township, those township residents will vote in neighboring Fairgrove Township.

• Heard from Unionville village president Ralph Rasch, who thanked the board for its support of the village’s playground equipment project.

• Received the audit of minimum assessing requirements review of the work of assessor Dara McGarry and the assessments. The township earned a good score, with a couple of issues for McGarry to correct.

• Reviewed the preliminary 2019-20 budget. The hearing will be at the March board meeting. The budget must be passed and in place for the April 1 start of the next fiscal year.

• Reviewed the Akron-Columbia-Wisner Fire Dept. budget. The township handles the bookkeeping and billing for the department.

Mark Haney is a staff writer for The Advertiser and can be reached at

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