Crawford County Library Board Set To Leave Ozark System

The Crawford County Library Board announced Aug. 8 that it sent a letter to the Ozark Regional Library Board of Directors with the intent to exit the system.

According to a press release, the board said it believed the decision was in the best interest for Crawford County taxpayers and the process would take six months to complete. Crawford County libraries will operate “as a standalone county library system” under the direction of the current library board.

On Wednesday, board member Annalee Williams spoke to the Sullivan Independent News and said it is "purely a business decision." Williams said the board's first decision is to the Crawford County taxpayers and keeping their money in the community.

When the move is complete, Crawford County will join Ste. Genevieve County as cutting ties with the Ozark system. Ste. Genevieve County exited after 2016 and as the county with the highest assessed property taxes in the system, took with it a large chunk of funding. The Ozark system will be left with just Annapolis, Ironton and Viburnum in Iron County and Fredericktown in Madison County. Those two counties contribute the least in terms of funding.

The library board met in closed session with the Crawford County commission on Aug. 1. According to the minutes, each board member, which included Williams, Mark Wenner, Carol Ann Lea, Tena Slovensky and Deborach Dicus, voiced displeasure with past events and the lack of promise of future change.

The Crawford County board met on July 24 and voted unanimously to exit from the Ozark system. Crawford County commissioners lent their support to the decision, agreeing that county tax money wasn’t being used for Crawford County’s needs.

Read more on this story in the Aug. 30 issue of the Independent News.

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