Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Breaking News

June 20, 2012

Library hours are in jeopardy

Budget difficulties have trustees considering cuts.

GOSHEN — Tuesday’s meeting of the Goshen Public Library’s Board of Trustees put future hours of the library on the possible cutting board, according to Library Executive Director Andrew Waters, with a decision looming as early as next month.

Waters said that around July 2011, the Library Board made small cuts to hours and other services provided to offset budget difficulties. At that meeting, the board decided it would have to revisit cutting hours and other services in July 2012 if things did not improve financially.

Tuesday’s meeting was an opportunity for the staff/finance committee and the public service committee to present to the board, Waters said. Those findings demonstrated that further cuts might need to be made for the library to keep within its budget.

While no specific recommendations were made, Waters said he expects something at July’s meeting, with possible implementation in September — when the Library switches off of summer hours — or January.

Their current hours are 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday from Memorial Day to Labor Day. After Labor Day, the library adds Sunday hours from 1:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.

“We’re trying to give high-priority hours consideration,” he said. “We know many people use our library in the evenings and on the weekends. However, we also have to keep in mind that people use the library at all hours, not just the evening and weekend.”

Grace Bickel, 13, said she uses the library frequently in the summer when she’s out of school.

“I come here two or three times a week with my sister, Emma,” she said.

She said she uses the library mostly for books, as opposed to other services like internet access.

“I love the reading program going on right now,” she said.

If library hours were cut, she said it might cause a problem for her and her visits during the week.

“It depends on how long they cut the hours,” she said. “I mainly come here during the day, though sometimes I come on Saturdays.”

Waters said that the easiest way to work on the budget is by cutting hours.

“Spending directly correlates with the hours that we’re open because of services,” he said. “We want the reduction of hours to be as small as possible. We’re trying to pick hours with the least impact on our services that will also work with what we need.”

Waters said that the Goshen Public Library, when compared to other surrounding districts, doesn’t have as much cost because it only has one branch.

“We don’t have the costs of other libraries,” Waters said. “When you add branches, the costs grow exponentially.”

The public will have an opportunity to hear the budget before the library board accepts it. The board is expected to vote on the budget in October.

The next meeting of the Goshen Public Library’s Board of Trustees will be July 17 at 5 p.m. in Room A/B at the Library.

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Three Goshen elementary schools — Chandler, Chamberlain and West Goshen — are providing free meals to all students during the school year as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Eligibility Provision of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Nearly 80 percent of students at Chandler, 89 percent of students at Chamberlain and 78 percent of students at West Goshen already qualify for free or reduced-price lunches based on their family income. How do you feel about the new lunch program?

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