Reduced library hours response to city budget needs

Posted: Friday, September 04, 2009

Reduced hours going into effect at the downtown and Mendenhall Valley branches of the Juneau Public Library are the result of an effort to cut into a future city budget deficit, library director Barbara Berg said Thursday.

Mondays through Thursdays starting Sept. 8, the two branches will close one hour earlier at 8 p.m.

Berg said it wasn't a seasonal change, but a conscious decision to hold open a vacancy in a part-time position to help with the city's imminent budget shortfalls in upcoming fiscal years. The position hasn't been eliminated.

"I'm hoping, when this whole financial crisis eases, we can go back," Berg said.

Berg estimated the reduced hours will translate into roughly $25,000 in savings this year.

Rather than reduce book budgets, or other employees' hours, Berg settled on the earlier closing times because an analysis of head counts and usage patterns showed it the least busy time of day.

City finance officials have forecast consecutive multimillion dollar operating budget deficits beginning in fiscal year 2011.

A shift in Monday-to-Wednesday hours at the Douglas branch also taking effect next week is unrelated.

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