As a means of cutting back on expenses, the Glenwood Public Library is looking at cutting back on its hours.
A proposal under consideration would reduce the number of hours the library is open to the public on a weekly basis from 48 to 42. Two hours would be cut at either the beginning or the end of the day on Wednesdays and four hours would be eliminated by closing on Saturday afternoons.
“We invite the public to give us some feedback,” said Barbara Taenzler, a longtime member of the library’s board of directors. “Is this going to be a handicap to them if we close earlier on Wednesday nights? Will it be a handicap if we close Saturday afternoons?”
Taenzler and Glenwood Public Library Director Denise Crawford said a reduction in hours appears to be inevitable. Funding for the library, which comes primarily from the city of Glenwood, has flatlined in recent years while operating costs have continued to climb.
“We’re not faulting the city because they’re going through this with all their departments because of decreased revenue,” Taenzler said.
In the current fiscal year that ends on June 30, the library is budgeted to receive $141,438 from the city of Glenwood and $23,820 from Mills County, Crawford said. The city of Pacific Junction along with Lyons, Center and Glenwood Townships all typically contribute between $500 to $1,000 annually to the library.
While taxpayers from the city of Glenwood provide approximately 84 percent of the public funding for the library, they’re in the minority when it comes to library usage. Crawford noted that last year, 53 percent of the library’s patrons were non-residents of the city.
“That’s been an age-old discussion,” Crawford said.
Taenzler and Crawford agree that the library has reduced its staff to the bare minimum. Currently, the library has five full-time and two part-time employees, about half of the 13 employees the facility employed before Crawford was the director.
“With the physical plant we have, we have to cover both floors,” Taenzler said. “Some of the more modern libraries are all open on one floor.”
Crawford said additional revenue has been generated by raising fines and charging fees for meeting room rentals. The library also expects to receive approximately $10,000 in memorial donations this year.
As for cuts, Crawford said any reduction in hours or services will be made with public input.
“We’re open to suggestions,” Crawford said. “We want to do it with the least amount of pain, so to speak, to our patrons.”