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Mequon library wants to charge for visually-impaired group

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Mequon library wants to charge for visually-impaired group

By Michele Fiore. CREATED Dec 26, 2013

MEQUON - You Ask, We Investigate.  Mabel wrote to TODAY'S TMJ4 from Thiensville about a support group for the visually impaired and blind.  They've been meeting at a library for free for years.

Now, that library wants to charge them a rental fee.

Eighty-six-year-old Mabel Bloomer is legally blind.  She lives just down the street from the library where she's been hosting meetings for eight years. Now, the future of those meetings is in doubt.

"It's kinda sad, makes me wanna cry, really," said Bloomer.

Glaucoma and cataracts cost Bloomer her eyesight. She found comfort by starting her own support group at the Frank Weyenberg Library eight years ago.

"It's centrally located. It's nice and neat," said Bloomer.

But starting January 1st, anyone using this meeting room will have to pay $10 an hour for it. Some in Bloomer's support group have already said they don't think that's fair and won't return.  She's thought of going somewhere else, but doesn't know where she'd find the stability of having one location every last Monday of the month.

"And call up and say 'Oh yeah, Cedarburg library or in a coffee shop or something.' This isn't the way to conduct a support group for the visually impaired," said Bloomer.

For now, the library has given the visually impaired and blind support group three months free and plans to discuss the issue next month.

"I see the point of the people that want it for free. That makes good sense to me, however, there are costs to offset. What's fair?" said Harold Nonken, library trustee.

The library claims they've had issues with groups being messy and the library having to pay to have the room cleaned.

We reached out to other libraries in Ozaukee County. Most make a distinction between non-profits and others. For the non-profits, there is no fee.

Michele Fiore

Michele Fiore

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Michele Fiore joined TODAY’S TMJ4 in 2013 after spending two years as a part-time reporter/anchor for our sister station, Newsradio 620 WTMJ.