Kristi Eblin, director of the Meigs County District Public Library, said the year began with an eight percent cut in the budget, then in April an additional four percent was cut and by May another eight percent had to be trimmed. All these cuts have resulted in a 20 percent drop in funding compared to last year. The MCDPL relies solely on state tax collections as its funding source and with tax collections down, the budget required additional revising.
Beginning the week of June 15, the following new hours for local library branches will take affect. The Middleport Branch, which is currently open six days a week, will be open from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m., Monday, Wednesday, Friday. Also beginning the week of June 15 the Racine and Eastern Branches, which are also currently open six days a week, will only be open from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays. Eblin said when school reopens in August, the Eastern Library will be open 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., Monday-Friday.
The Pomeroy Library Branch is the only branch which was not affected by the reduction in operating hours, at this point. The Pomeroy Library remains open from 9 a.m. - 9 p.m., Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. on Saturday and 1-5 p.m. on Sunday.
Storytime hours will also change after June 15 at some branches. Storytime remains at 2 p.m., Wednesdays in Pomeroy and at 2 p.m. Tuesdays at Eastern while Racine’s has changed to 2 p.m. Thursdays. Middleport will no longer have storytime.
Eblin said the MCDPL has an operating budget of $687,928.73 this year and that is used to operate four buildings, pay 20 employees, buy books and pay other expenses. Eblin said the library will continue to get the best sellers but just not as many. She pointed out the MCDPL is part of the statewide interlibrary loan system, allowing staff and patrons access to borrow books from across the state if the branches don’t have a requested title.
Eblin said earlier in the year the library was able to continue to cut other expenses and not have an affect on staff. She said there was a definite reluctance to let go of staff but last month it could no longer be avoided because, unfortunately, there was nowhere left to cut.
The library’s annual budget has been shrinking since 2002. Eblin reiterated although the formula for the library’s funding had not changed significantly over the years, the percentage of income tax collection being down has left the MCDPL waiting for the economy to turn around, like a lot of other people and industries.
“We’ll just continue to provide the best service we can provide until we get through this,” Eblin said.