Good times, bad times for libary system | SierraSun.com

Good times, bad times for libary system

Laura Brown
Sun News Service

County librarian Mary Ann Trygg will present a proposal for dealing with the shortfall to the county Board of Supervisors at 9 a.m. Tuesday at the Eric Rood Administrative Center, 950 Maidu Ave.

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TRUCKEE ” Despite attracting more users than ever, three of Nevada County’s largest libraries may have to cut back hours and staff in an effort to make up for $222,000 in lost sales tax revenue.

If the Nevada County Board of Supervisors approve the measures this morning, Truckee’s library could see a 12-hour reduction ” from 52 to 40 ” in hours each week. Such a reduction across the board could save the county’s library system $100,000 annually.

“We’re seeing this as a temporary move if it does get passed, just because of the state of the economy,” said Lauri Ferguson, branch manager in Truckee.

Ironically, the state of the economy has driven many to the library for free books, music CDs and movie rentals.

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“We know the libraries are used during economic bad times,” County librarian Mary Ann Trygg said.

Last year, 721,000 items were checked out from all of the county’s libraries, compared to 680,000 the previous year.

“That’s why we’re trying to do the reduction now,” to preserve the library’s core services, Trygg said. A report from Trygg stated sales tax revenue in fiscal year 2007-2008 had decreased 12 percent from the previous year, and total revenues were down 4 percent.

“This is an effort not to lay off any of the permanent employees,” Trygg added. The library system has 27 full-time employees.

Last year, the county library dipped into its fund balance for $300,000 when it became apparent mid-year that only $1.6 million of a predicted $2 million in sales tax would materialize, Trygg said.

Until the economy brightens, the library has discontinued several online search databases and postponed regular maintenance such as fresh coats of paint.

“We just want to be proactive and sustain us through this difficult time,” Trygg said.

The Tahoe City and Kings Beach libraries were closed Monday.