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March 13, 2009

Second library branch closes: Library opened branch at Plaza North in 1967

TERRE HAUTE — Nancy Lee has known for about three weeks that the Vigo County Public Library’s northside branch would close, but that still didn’t mitigate her disappointment when the last day came on Friday.

“It is terrible. I am very disappointed. I have been coming here every week for the past 30 years,” Lee said as she prepared to drive home from the Plaza North Shopping Center. The library opened the northside branch at the shopping center in September 1967.

Lee had just returned seven books.

“I have one more book at home to read,” the Terre Haute resident said. “I will probably look to exchange books with anyone I can find. I just don’t think the main library will be big enough for all the people that have to go there now.”

A book return box will remain outside the library’s front door at 1800 Fort Harrison Road for the next two weeks.

Inside, library clerks, some of whom have been working at the branch for well over a decade, were hesitant to talk about the last day. “We feel very sad for the community, and we will miss our library patrons,” one clerk said, asking not to be named.

Under an option to close three branches — north, south and at The Meadows — the library intended to lay off 14 staff members, of which eight are hourly and six salaried. That option was presented to the library’s board of director’s last month.

Library director Nancy Dowell said Friday she does not expect that number to change. Dowell said she will address staffing reductions to the board at its 7 p.m. meeting Monday. The branch closings and staff reductions were projected to save the budget-strained library between about $787,000 and $900,000.

Jerry Weber, 73, on Friday picked up two books, both mysteries.

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    March 12, 2010