Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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July 15, 2009

Library to cut services, raise fees

Kokomo/Howard County Public Library patrons and staff will be feeling the pinch of an expected property tax shortfall over the next six months, in the form of shorter library hours and new fees for services.

Faced with the task of cutting more than half a million dollars by year’s end, library board members approved a package of cost-cutting and revenue-raising measures Monday.

Changes for the public will include a new 50-cent fee to check out audiovisual materials (including CDs, DVDs and videos), and shorter library hours during the week, library director Charles Joray announced Wednesday.

“The ... community is experiencing difficult financial problems. We, at the library, do not like this; nevertheless, we are determined to deal with our budget shortfall in the best way possible,” Joray said. “We are going to take our ‘hit,’ but then pull together and make the most of it.”

Starting Aug. 3, the new AV checkout fee will go into effect, as will the new library hours.

Monday through Saturday, all three library branches (Main, South and Russiaville) will open one hour later, at 10 a.m.

And Monday through Thursday, all three branches will close one hour earlier, at 8 p.m.

In addition the library will take the following steps:

• Close the facilities to the public the day after Thanksgiving, New Year’s Eve, Columbus Day (Oct. 12), and Veterans Day (Nov. 11), and require all staff to take those days off unpaid.

• Reduce the hours for the Genealogy Department (and department staff) by 20 hours per week. The new hours of operation for that department haven’t been released yet.

• Reduce the amount of money the library will transfer from operations to its building fund by more than 50 percent.

• Reduce the amount budgeted for new materials (books, AV, periodicals, etc.) by more than $100,000.

• Allow four part-time positions and one full-time position to go unfilled.

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