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Keokuk and Mt. Pleasant to Share Librarian


The Keokuk School District will help a nearby district fill a critical vacancy.

The Keokuk School Board has voted to allow one of the district's librarians to work one-day per week in the Mt. Pleasant School District.

Mt. Pleasant Superintendent Mike Wells says his district's previous librarian resigned abruptly due to a new job for her husband.

He says Mt. Pleasant had no luck finding a replacement, despite seeking candidates throughout the spring and summer.

Wells says the state requires districts have a librarian, so he reached out to his neighbors, which is how the Keokuk School District got involved.

Keokuk Superintendent Tim Hood says sharing faculty or staff was commonplace at his former district, so he was more than happy to offer to help.

"A neighboring district was in a bind, so sometimes it is about being a good neighbor," says Hood.

There is also a financial benefit to the agreement.

Hood says Mt. Pleasant will cover additional salary and reimbursements for travel.  He says the state could also provide several hundred thousand dollars to each district for sharing resources.

Wells says Keokuk's librarian will work in Mt. Pleasant on Mondays, starting in October.  He says the focus will be on professional development and training existing library associates.

The Mt. Pleasant School Board unanimously approved the agreement.  Things did not go as smoothly in Keokuk as the agreement passed by just one vote.

Several school board members who voted against it said they wanted more time to study the impact of missing out on having a librarian in Keokuk one day per week.

Hood and Wells says the deadline to qualify for the state funding is October 1, prompting the votes this week.


Meanwhile, the Keokuk School Board has a new leader.

Prior to the vote on the sharing agreement, the panel reorganized itself, following last week's school board election.

That process began with incumbent Alka Khanolkar and newcomers Carrie Steele and Jane Abell taking the oaths of office for new four-year terms.

From there, the board went on to select Mike Beaird as President by a 4-3 vote.  The other three votes went to Khanolkar.

Beaird replaces outgoing Keokuk School Board President Tyler McGhghy, who lost his bid for a fourth term last week.

"Well I am honored and am really looking forward to it," says Beaird, "the previous president (McGhghy) did a good job and I think we need to keep going on that."

Beaird says improving building security will be one of his top priorities as President.

On-Air Version of New President

Sandy Stark was re-elected Vice President of the Keokuk School Board, again by a 4-3 vote with Khanolkar receiving the other three votes.

Jason Parrott is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.