July 30, 2010
Willingboro library to cut staff, services
July 29, 2010
By: Rose Krebs
Burlington County Times
WILLINGBORO — Municipal budget woes will impact the library in the form of layoffs, employee furloughs, service cuts and fewer hours of operation.
Library director Christine King announced Wednesday the library will be closed Fridays and Wednesday evenings starting Oct. 1 and on Sundays for the rest of the year. It was to be closed on Sundays until mid-September.
King said the library, located at 220 Willingboro Parkway, will close at 5 p.m. instead of 9 p.m. on Wednesdays starting Oct. 1. Wednesday evenings and Fridays are the least active days, she added.
King did not want to discuss layoffs in specific terms, as employees still need to be told, but 10 employees are expected to lose their jobs.
“All categories of employees will be impacted,” King said.
There are 20 full-time employees and 12 part-time employees at the library. There also are two student monitors who help shelve books. Monitors will be eliminated, King said, adding there are no current adult pages who help with shelving books, but those positions also will be cut.
The layoffs and reduced hours stem from a $200,000 cut in the library budget recently approved by Township Council. Township funding of the library for 2010 is proposed to be $1.3 million. Council is scheduled to finalize the budget Aug. 3.
“We don’t anticipate those funds will be restored in 2011,” King said, adding she understands the budgetary woes of the township and the library is “willing to share the pain.”
“It has come to all of us. It’s most unfortunate,” Mayor Eddie Campbell Jr. said of budgetary issues. “The economy has forced this state, and all states, to take drastic steps.”
King said the late date of the cut doesn’t leave many options for the library, other than layoffs, furloughs and reduction in hours. There are 15 furlough days planned through the end of the year. Fridays and Sundays will count toward those days.
Advertisement “I’m losing some employees that have been wonderful people to work with,” King said. “It’s painful to lose them. On the other hand, I’m concerned about the service to the public.”
Also impacted will be some subscriptions at the library and the purchase of new materials. King said the library will seek grants, free services and use a free provider for some best sellers, but that some magazines no longer will be offered and new books will be scarce.
The library will be increasing some fees for use of its computer labs and meeting rooms. Nonmembers will be charged more for use of that space.
Of any future possibility of the township library becoming part of the county library system, King said the board of trustees, council and many in the public have indicated they do not want that to happen. Also, the county has indicated it is not interested in taking the Willingboro library into its system,
“There are maintenance issues,” King said.
At recent meetings, some residents questioned if the library can be transferred to the county, or even closed, as a cost savings measure.
“Those individuals advocating the closing of this facility are individuals who don’t use it. Were they users, they would see it is heavily used,” King said.
King said there were 164,852 visitors to the library in 2009 and 74,000 visitors through June 30 this year.
BCT Staff writer Rose Krebs can be reached at 609-871-8064 or rkrebs@phillyBurbs.com
Posted by tumulty at July 30, 2010 10:08 AM
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