Input Sought on Lions Phone Book

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By Lion Tom Mehl

The Milford Lions Club’s oldest project is currently being re-evaluated. Club records show that they began producing a Phone Book for the greater Milford community back in 1949. The Phone Book project was originated to serve as both a Club fund-raiser and a source of community information. Its primary content was home, business, and government phone numbers, but it also contained Lions Club information, emergency information, and many other generally useful items. Its uniqueness was its convenient size and clear, large print on white paper. Its fundraising value to the Lions Club was in its advertising pages and donation envelopes. Because Lions Clubs are committed to returning 100% of the profits of all community fund-raisers, it is estimated that the Milford Lions Club Phone Book returned between $360,000 and $380,000 to this community and its citizens over the past 68 years.
The first 5 to 8 years the Club printed 3,200 books per year at a cost of just over $1,000 per printing. There were about 120 advertisers and the book had almost 200 pages. At its peak, around 2007, the Club printed 17,500 books per year at a cost in excess of $45,000 per printing. The number of advertisers grew to nearly 600 and the book had about 440 pages.

Around 2007, Club members began to notice that the phone book marketplace was changing. More people were utilizing cell phones and the number of cell phones serving as home phones was increasing, however cell phones are able to store frequently-used numbers, so phone books were becoming less essential for many users. Meanwhile, the growth of online advertising and the availability of business information on computers and smartphones were rendering the yellow ad pages less vital as well. Then in 2016, when the Club’s long-time Phone Book Chairman had health issues and they were forced to reorganize the Phone Book Committee, Club members began asking themselves whether the time had come to modify or even eliminate the Milford Lions Phone Book.

Through the Club members’ communication within the community, they know there are many people who regularly depend upon the Lions Phone Book. Its ease of use and readability make it particularly valuable to many seniors. It also contains much of the information people need in one familiar place. And, of course, it serves the needs of those who do not use computers or smartphones. Therefore, before the Club makes any decisions relative to changing or eliminating the Milford Lions Phone Book, they want to obtain input from the greater Milford community. That input can be via mail, email, or verbal. The purpose of this article is to solicit the community’s wishes, needs, and suggestions.

Most Milford Lions Club members are listed in the 2016 Lions Phone Book, which was the last one published. Input may be given to any Club member either verbally or in writing. In addition, notes or letters may be mailed to the Milford Lions Club Phone Book, PO Box 25, Milford DE 19963. Emails with the subject “Lions Phone Book” may be sent to htmehl@aol.com. The Club has set up a committee which will receive all community input and make a recommendation to either modify the current book into something more economical and efficient or possibly to eliminate it. The Lions Club would appreciate having all community input by early July, 2017.

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