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All library branches to stay open — for now
by Jessica Carner
Aug 19, 2011 | 1525 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
SPARKS — Budget reductions had many people concerned that some county libraries would be closed, but administrators announced this week that all branches will stay open — at least for now.

“The good news is none of the libraries are going to close,” library system spokesperson Bonnie Saviers said.

Saviers said Washoe County library administrators have had to get creative when it comes to staffing the libraries and that hours of operation have been shifted in order to keep the system’s 13 branches open.

“We have lost a lot of people,” Saviers said, adding that she believes the library system will probably lose more employees as the economy continues to suffer.

Facing a $31.3 million deficit, the second-highest shortfall since the recession hit in 2007, the Washoe County Commission in May approved cuts of $337,000 to the library system. That budget passed by a 4-1 vote with Commissioner Kitty Jung casting the only dissenting vote, citing the cuts to the library system as too costly.

“I will not be voting for this budget,” she said at the time, adding that she could not support it with a “clear conscience” because of cuts to local libraries.

“I am philosophically opposed” to the library system not being designated as a “core,” or mandated, service, Jung said, which would have limited the amount of funding reductions. Libraries are vital to the economic recovery of the region, she added.

“There are no proposals this year to close any libraries,” Saviers said Thursday morning.

The board of trustees for the library system met Wednesday to discuss possible changes in the hours of operation at several branches, including the Spanish Springs Library, but only voted to revise the hours at Sierra View Library in downtown Reno.

Effective Sept. 6, Sierra View Library, which is now open six days a week, will move to five days of operation.

“It will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday,” Saviers said, citing staff shortages as the reason for the change in hours.

Saviers said minor changes to the hours of operation for the Spanish Springs Library have been proposed, but will not be voted on until September or October.

“It would just be a shift in hours,” Saviers said.

Currently the Spanish Springs Library is open from noon to 8 p.m. on Wednesday. The proposal is to change the hours to 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and to keep just the drive-through open until 8 p.m.

“Library managers track usage by the hour,” Saviers said. “It just makes more sense to open a little earlier.”

The next library board meeting will be held Sept. 21 in Incline Village.
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