But as more patrons are utilizing their local libraries, the institutions' costs are rising and funds lagging.
"Since funding is always so questionable anymore -- as to what we receive and want we don't -- we have to be prepared," said Sue Tangeman, director of Sikeston Public Library.
That's where the Sikeston's community organization, Friends of the Library, helps to make a difference. The group, which is preparing for its annual membership drive, aims to improve opportunities for local readers. As early as Feb. 1, individuals, families and businesses in the Sikeston community could receive letters about joining the organization.
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