One-time funding could restore hours at Woodbury libraryLibrary users, rejoice: Sunday hours may be back at Washington County’s largest library.
By: Jon Avise, Woodbury Bulletin
Library users, rejoice: Sunday hours may be back at Washington County’s largest library.
Washington County commissioners expressed support last week for a proposal that would open, at least during the school year, the RH Stafford Library in Woodbury for 4.5 hours on Sundays as part of a larger library budget plan that would also restore Monday hours at the county’s six libraries.
Budget cuts last year forced Pat Conley, the county’s library director, to reduce open hours at libraries across the system. Washington County also closed small branches in Newport and Marine on St. Croix, installing Library Express kiosks in those cities for residents to pick up and drop off materials in lieu of a traditional, brick-and-mortar library.
The proposal would increase the library’s proposed $6.4 million 2013 budget by nearly $300,000 and would be paid for by shifting unexpected, one-time revenues from elsewhere in the budget and delaying technology upgrades.
Despite reduced hours and fewer branches, activity at Washington County libraries has held steady in 2012, Conley said last week. Under the schedule proposed for 2013, open hours would increase to 289.5 hours per week across the system, up from 234.5 this year with no Sundays or Mondays.
Board members indicated they supported the increased hours in a workshop Tuesday, Sept. 25, after some commissioners had expressed unease with the one-year plan during budget discussions in August.
The school year Sunday hours at Woodbury’s Stafford branch would give county residents library access on what – before this year’s budget cuts – was traditionally one of the system’s busiest days, Conley said.
The County Board will approve a final library budget in December.