Twelve Bridges library now closed Fridays

This could save city $3,000 next few months
By: Stephanie Dumm News Messenger Reporter
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Library patrons will now have one less weekday to peruse bookshelves and check out DVDs for the weekend. Starting this week, the Twelve Bridges Library will be closed on Fridays. On Feb. 8, City Council asked the library, as well as police, fire and recreation, departments to find budget reductions for this fiscal year and the next. Darla Wegener, Lincoln’s director of library services, said Friday was chosen due to stipulations tied to monetary donations by the Friends of the Lincoln Library. The donations are tied to programs held on certain days of the week. “Because of the Friends donation, we are committed to keeping all services open the rest of the year,” Wegener said. Those commitments are the Summer Reading Program, held two days a week for four weeks; Read Across America on Saturdays; and Mother Goose on the Loose on Thursdays, according to Wegener. Friends of the Lincoln Library President Karen Jarrell said the nonprofit organization gave the library $7,500 for Mother Goose on the Loose in August and $5,250 for the summer reading program. During the Feb. 16 city budget workshop, Wegener listed closing the Twelve Bridges Library one additional day this fiscal year as a possible budget reduction, which would “save no more than $3,000 for the next couple of months.” There is also another reason behind choosing Friday as the day to close. “We’re trying to think about the public as much as possible. Saturday is the only day for a lot of people to come to the library and Friday is our least busy day currently,” Wegener said. “We talked about it and determined that it would have the least impact on service level to the customer. Our whole motive is to still service the customers the best we can.” As far as next fiscal year goes, which begins July 1, Wegener said she “is still working” on a budget proposal for the library. “It’s looking like Carnegie (Library) will be closed, and until we get final direction from the council, I’m working on about a 12-hour schedule (for next year),” Wegener said. “At this point, cutting hours is to save money so we can hopefully ride this economic crisis through so when it’s up. we can ease back into additional hours without doing significant hiring or increases right away and retain the great staff we have.” Wegener said the library needs more volunteers to perform tasks such as checking out books or helping with programs. “We need high-level and time committed volunteers,” Wegener said. City Manager Jim Estep said the elimination of Friday’s hours at the library is “the only thing we are doing immediately” as far as budget cuts go. “Friday is a very low-volume day at the library, and council has asked us to do things we could do quickly. Cutting four hours at the library is one of those things,” Estep said. “All the other ideas brought forward (at the budget workshop) will be presented in a more formalized way at the March 22 meeting. We would expect to get formal direction from the council for specific actions.” Jarrell said she was told about the reduction in library hours by Friends of the Lincoln Library vice president Jeff Greenberg last week. “I think it’s a foretaste of what’s going to come down the next fiscal year,” Jarrell said. “We are being cut four hours, but next fiscal year, it could go down to 10 to 12. And it’s unthinkable.” Jarrell recently sent an e-mail to the City Council, asking them to keep the Twelve Bridges library open on Thursdays for Mother Goose on the Loose. “I am glad I had sent an e-mail to the City Council and to Darla (Wegener), asking to make sure that if they were going to close one day, it would not be Thursdays,” Jarrell said. Jarrell also urged that residents volunteer at the library and donate money. “We are going to have to depend on the generosity of the community to help us find the funds to keep it open for our next fiscal year,” Jarrell said. Rocklin resident John King, who visits the Twelve Bridges Library at least three times a week, did not like the idea of the library being closed an additional day. “I don’t like it at all. I think we should put more money into it,” King said. “It’s a great education resource.” Melissa Morales, a Lincoln resident, said Friday’s closure would not affect her since she works on Fridays, but said she wishes the library opened earlier in the day during the rest of the week. “It’s depressing,” said Diane Johnston, a Lincoln resident. “Not for me personally because I can’t come on Fridays but just for the fact that others can’t visit the library that day.”