Jackson County libraries face another round of cutsJACKSON — Users of the Jackson County Libraries will begin to notice several changes in operations and materials as of January 2012 due to a second round of budget cuts.
JACKSON — Users of the Jackson County Libraries will begin to notice several changes in operations and materials as of January 2012 due to a second round of budget cuts.
Library director Tam Erickson explained that while the three libraries in Jackson, Lakefield and Heron Lake have been receiving the same amount of levy every year, they had to tap into reserves to make ends meet.
“It’s very unfortunate but it’s a sign of the times,” she said. “The county has always been supportive and I can see that they’re in a tough spot because all departments are facing cuts. The library just feels it more because we’re not terribly over-funded to begin with.”
Library administration reduced their materials budget by 20 percent in 2010 but allowed for the budget to remain the same this year.
The cut in 2012 will be a pre-emptive measure to stretch out the funds available in reserves.
“We’ve been spending out of reserves but once it’s gone, it will be a bigger hit to our budget,” Erickson added. “We’re getting to the point where our reserves are dwindling.”
The libraries are fully funded by Jackson County but receive building maintenance from the cities in which they are located.
Library goers will notice a change in hours at the Jackson location — the building will close an hour earlier on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.
County-wide, there will be less material overall, ranging from books and magazines to movies. Erickson explained that they will not purchase as many duplicate copies or requested items.
Of the 10 library staff members, the eight part-time employees will face a reduction in hours. Inevitably, library members will experience a longer wait time due to the shortage in material and employee hours.
As a means to alleviate the problem, Erickson said that each library started promoting the Adopt-a-Book program last week.
Pieces of paper, with suggestions of books to be purchased, are hung onto branches of a tree in each library. Individuals can select a book of choice and purchase it for the library through a staff member. Once the library receives the book, the name of the person who purchased the book will be printed on it for recognition.
“We’ve had about 20 books purchased in a week,” Erickson said. “I’ve been really pleased.”
As of 2010, Jackson County Libraries have 6883 registered borrowers.