It's official: Library hours slashed in Woodbury, other locationsThe Washington County Board of Commissioners voted Tuesday to eliminate library service countywide on Sundays and Mondays and reduce hours at some of the county’s busiest branches.
By: Jon Avise, Woodbury Bulletin
The Washington County Board of Commissioners voted Tuesday to eliminate library service countywide on Sundays and Mondays and reduce hours at some of the county’s busiest branches.
The proposal, first presented by library officials in August, slashes hours at Washington County’s largest libraries, shutters each of the system’s branches on Sunday and Monday, and cuts five-and-a-half full-time staff positions beginning in January.
The plan also will dramatically change the Newport branch library.
The board approved the library reductions on a 4-1 vote. Commissioner Lisa Weik, who represents Woodbury, opposed.
Reduced library funding is driving the changes, county officials have said.
Washington County’s three largest branches – Woodbury’s RH Stafford, Hardwood Creek in Forest Lake, and Park Grove in Cottage Grove – will be open 46.5 hours per week under the proposal. The changes would represent a decrease of 7.5 hours per week in Woodbury and Forest Lake 2.5 hours at the Park Grove branch.
The county’s Library Board recommended commissioners approve the proposal at a meeting in October.
The County Board’s approval is another step toward a total remake of that city’s small branch library. County library officials plan to transition the Newport branch from a traditional library with a permanent book collection to a kiosk system where patrons can reserve, pick up and drop off materials.
Newport officials have said they would like to retain some computer and internet access for residents at the more than century-old former church where the library is currently housed. Details of how that type of facility would be staffed – and how the city and county will split the bill for what Washington County Library Director Pat Conley has called a “digital library” concept – have yet to be determined.
The Newport City Council is expected to vote on a resolution regarding the library change Dec. 1.
Faced with a similar fate for its small branch library, the Lake Elmo City Council voted earlier this year to exit the Washington County library system.