Library in trouble now

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Residents will be without adequate library services as the city of Lincoln and its joint use partners face these difficult economic times. City Council instructed the library department to make extreme cuts to its budget. This means the Lincoln Public Library is looking at cutting around $200,000 from its budget. Hours were already reduced almost in half in 2009. The library’s current hours, Twelve Bridges at 27 hours per week and the Carnegie at 11 hours per week, will seem generous to what may be next. The first step is closing Twelve Bridges on Fridays, beginning this week. In July, more cuts in hours are anticipated at Twelve Bridges and closing the Carnegie Library is anticipated. The next fiscal year has no funding to support programs such as Mother Goose on the Loose (early literacy program), summer reading and senior computer classes. The funding to purchase books and materials will be severely reduced, as well. In the past few years, the library reduced hours and services to assist with budget reductions. This included losing staff to layoffs and resignations for other jobs. The drop in revenues from property and sales tax leaves Lincoln short on funding for library services. Also, the state continues to reduce funding to local cities. These include the Governor’s recent budget proposal to eliminate funding for public libraries. This amounts to almost $20,000 for Lincoln. In the past few years, the library had two great milestones: Carnegie Library celebrated its 100th year serving Lincoln citizens and Twelve Bridges opened to quickly become a community hub. The library has seen over 140,000 people coming through the doors in 2010. This included hosting classes and other programs by staff and volunteers. The library hosted a number of Sierra College OLLIE classes for local seniors. Thanks to the generous donations from the Friends of the Lincoln Library and other community organizations and individuals, we were able to offer educational programs. What can you do? Contact your elected representatives at all levels to ask for their support and tell them how important the library is to you. Participate in library fundraising, including the March 12 Night at the Carnegie event sponsored by the Friends of the Lincoln Library. Volunteer your time. Encourage others to help as well. Visit the Carnegie at 590 Fifth St. or Twelve Bridges at 485 Twelve Bridges at Colonnade. Call 434-2410, e-mail or see the library’s website at to get directions and hours. Shirley Russell, Lincoln