TERRE HAUTE — As the Vigo County Public Library faces financial challenges – and pressure from the community to continue its services – staff members and administrators are considering possible cost-saving measures.
During a meeting of the library board of trustees on Tuesday evening, library Director Nancy Dowell outlined some of the recommendations for cost savings she and the staff have been reviewing.
The library must cut at least $500,000 in expenses this year as it tries to bring its budget in line with less property tax revenue.
Among the recommendations suggested Tuesday:
n Reduce the number of plastic bags offered to adults checking out items, and encourage patrons to bring their own bags. Children would still be offered plastic bags for item checkout, and they would be encouraged to re-use the bags. The estimated savings would be around $7,000, Dowell said.
• Close the Special Collections section at the Main Branch on Sundays starting Feb. 7, because of low interest in that section on Sundays. The change would eliminate the overtime salary of staff in that area.
• Eliminate overtime pay for three employees currently employed through Express Personnel Services.
• Freeze all current staff vacancies and fill job duties with current employees, without increasing any hours.
• Eliminate the library’s rug-cleaning contract with an outside company, which currently provides monthly cleaning. The staff would use existing carpet-cleaning equipment to clean, and hire the outside company on an as-needed basis.
No decisions have been made, and the board will conduct two hearings this week to receive public input. The first is 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. today and the second, 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Thursday. Both will be in the main library.
The board commended the staff on the many suggestions that have been submitted for consideration, to which Dowell replied that the staff have been hard at work coming up with ideas.
“We’re all in the same boat,” she said, “rowing for our lives.”
The Rev. Chip Chillington of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church attended the meeting and made a comment at the beginning.
“I want to commend you for the process you’ve already initiated,” he said. “You are modeling what everyone else in Vigo County in local government should be doing – sitting with the public to discuss the issues you’re facing, asking them, inviting them to think of creative solutions … It’s not something you created,” he said.
Chillington added that the library is one of the few places in the county where it is hard to find a parking place on a weeknight.
“This is one of the crown jewels of this county and city,” he said. “You will continue to be an example to the rest of the community.”
Members of the public are invited to either or both of the library hearings this evening and Thursday.
Deb Kelly can be reached at (812) 231-4254 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
• The Vigo County Public Library will have to cut at least $500,000 in expenses this year as it attempts to bring its budget in line with less property tax revenue. The library board will seek public input on cost-savings options at two hearings this week. The hearings are 6:30-8:30 p.m. today and 9:30-11:30 a.m. Thursday in the main branch of the library at Poplar and Seventh streets.