News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

February 16, 2009

Vigo Library to close 3 branches

TERRE HAUTE — The Meadows, Southland and North branches of the Vigo County Public Library will close under a budget reduction plan approved by the library board on Monday.

The West Terre Haute branch, already owned by the library, will remain open, but its library collection will be modified and Internet access will be strengthened.

Closing three branches will mean fewer layoffs systemwide, while hours and services will be preserved at the main library.

The board voted 6-1, with board president Pat Minnis voting against the budget reduction plan. She said she wanted to try to keep two branches open.

Library director Nancy Dowell recommended the option approved by the board, previously listed as “Option 4.”

“This recommendation comes with a heavy heart,” Dowell wrote. “The branches have served a vital role in providing quality library services to the Vigo County community. However, the bottom line is the VCPL can no longer afford to maintain the facilities. Property tax revenue will not support five locations in a county that is declining in population and where property values and economic development continue to decline.”

The budget reduction plan will result in about $900,000 in savings. It calls for as many as 14 staff layoffs — eight hourly and six salaried. The actual number may be less, Dowell said.

She said it’s difficult to lay off employees, whom she described as “loyal and trustworthy and horribly underpaid to begin with.”

The Meadows branch, which is under a temporary lease, could close at the end of this month, Dowell said after the meeting. The North and South branches could close in four to six weeks.

A major concern of the board’s was preserving the main, downtown library and laying off as few employees as possible.

“We can’t do anything to jeopardize this [main library] even though in our hearts we want to do something else,” said board member James A. Brown.

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    March 12, 2010

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