The Pratt Public Library provides more than a million dollars in service to its users and operates on a "shoestring budget" compared to other libraries that serve populations similar to Pratt, according to Director Rochelle Westerhaus. The library ranks at the bottom for tax funding and per capital operating expenses, but its total circulation of materials and per capita circulation places it solidly in the mid-range. About 2,000 people are regular library users, Westerhaus estimated.
The library is supported by the City of Pratt, Pratt County, donations and memorials and income from the 2002 sale of a ranch donated to the library board. The $1.2 million remains intact, invested in Certificates of Deposit, the only legal option available to them.
The library board has asked the county for $116,500 for 2014 and requested a levy of four mils from the city. That translated to $156,000 last year, Westerhaus said.
Besides books, books on tape, movies, newspapers and magazines, the library has a resource room with microfilm copies of newspapers and other collected materials. Computers are available for public use.
Three story times are offered each week year-round, and there is a summer reading program for children, teens and adults, with an enrollment of 199 for age three through fourth grade, 66 for fifth through 12th grades and 64 adults.
New programs planned for the fall include a monthly art class for elementary students and the Talk About Literature program sponsored by the Kansas Humanities Council for adults.