GREEN BAY - There could be a resolution in the library dispute between Brown and Outagamie Counties.
Both sides now say they are willing to work out a deal concerning thousands of dollars in fees.
After an hour discussion Thursday night, both Brown County and Outagamie County library officials decided to try to cut a deal.
"We just want to be fair as we humanly can," explained Brown County Library Board President Terry Watermolen.
"We just want it to be fair and we're happy to keep talking about it with Brown County," said Appleton Public Library Director Colleen Rortvedt.
Earlier this year, Brown County's Library sent bills to neighboring communities for use by non-Brown County residents.
Under state law, it can do that, since the Brown County Library is a consolidated system.
Outagamie County's bill was more than $33,000.
In turn, four Outagamie County libraries said they would stop serving Brown County residents, if the bills were not thrown out.
That move is estimated to impact around 1,400 Brown County residents.
Library officials say the whole situation is unfair, since they feel the cost goes both ways.
"The goal of a library is to share things and to allow people to have access to information and its just really counter to what we want to do," Rortvedt said.
But Brown County says it needs the money in order to keep its libraries open.
"The whole thing was designed to create equality in the system and everyone has access to good library services and pay equally, and that's what we're asking," Watermolen said.
Despite the differences of opinion, Thursday night the Brown County Library Board voted to do more research, and work with Outagamie County to try to come to a resolution.
"It is our intention to be accountable to the Brown County taxpayers and at the same time, provide the very best library service that we can for county residents," Watermolen explained. "And if the expenses and the exchange somehow effects library services in a negative way, we certainly want to look at that."
"I'm glad they're taking this seriously and listened to our concerns and I think they truly understand our concerns," Rortvedt said. "I think the question is what is the resolution and what is the timing of that resolution. I'm excited to work with them and I'm happy to do so."
Both sides plan to begin discussions right away.
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