Library & Museum Agree to Partner
The agreement, which has not yet been finalized by both organizations, spells out ways the library and museum can partner and collaborate over the next five years. Keeping in mind that each group is a “community anchor,” the agreement presents ways the two parties can benefit from the partnership to “deliver useful programming, meet the needs of the area, and provide a sense of community for years to come.”
The museum first approached BCPL last summer about a possible merger of operations. A committee comprised of museum and library officials was formed to study the issue. After months of reseach, the committee presented four options to each board in December. Both groups felt that the partnership proposal would serve the community better than a merger at this time. There are a few issues still to finalize.
Over the next five years, BCPL will purchase certain promotional and public relations services, space and programming help from the museum, as it does from commercial vendors, said Director Debbie Cosper. For example, the library will use the museum’s Winchester Avenue display windows to promote library programs and services. BCPL will also rent space inside the museum for library displays and special events and programs that are too large for the main branch. The promotions and events budgets will not increase as a result of the partnership.
The two groups plan to collaborate on many programs, including art exhibits, author visits, family history programs and teen events, Cosper said. The library will purchase family museum memberships for checkout to library users. The museum will also hold “show your card” days that could include free admission for BCPL card holders, or discounts on memberships and gift shop purchases.
The museum’s 20-plus member board will be restructured to a seven-member governing board and a 13-member advisory board. One of the members of the governing board will be from the BCPL Board of Trustees and one from the museum’s advisory board. The rest will be duly elected museum members.
“We have found creative, out-of-the-box ways to do what we can to help the museum while ensuring that we meet the library’s mission to provide quality resources and access to information for all users. This partnership will allow the library to provide some unique services and programming for library patrons. I am very excited to start work on this partnership,” Cosper said.
“The Highlands Museum & Discovery Center is vital to economic development and quality of life in the Ashland/Boyd County area and beyond,” said BCPL Board President Mike Campbell. “We believe this innovative partnership will help strengthen the museum while allowing us to provide a richer suite of services to our patrons. Community assets like the museum require the support of many organizations. We hope that other groups will want to do the same.”