Longer hours, more staffing in store for Truckee Library; Council OKs $7,500 expenditure | SierraSun.com

Longer hours, more staffing in store for Truckee Library; Council OKs $7,500 expenditure

A one-time disbursement of funds from the Town of Truckee will keep the public library open longer hours and provide for an additional staff member.

Truckee councilmembers last Thursday unanimously approved earmarking $7,500 saved during the 1996-97 fiscal year budget and carrying them over to the upcoming fiscal year budget.

“The fiscal impact to the town is not to exceed $7,500 coming from the 1996-97 budget savings,” Community Development Director Tony Lashbrook said.

In addition, the town agreed to pursue a memorandum of understanding with the Friends of the Library and Nevada County for future library funding.

Town staff was also directed to prepare a policy statement outlining request for funds falling outside of town priorities. The $7,500 commitment hinges on completion of the MOU and the policy statement.

Councilmember Don McCormack expressed concern over granting the money without a policy statement.

“I am prepared to support the expenditure,” McCormack said, “but my support is contingent on a policy to govern this kind of spending.”

Councilmember Josh Susman said he was concerned about Nevada County possibly letting this issue become Truckee’s problem. The council’s action could encourage the county to cut back funding, he said.

“We have to send a message to the county that were are helping the library help itself,” Susman said.

Mayor Bob Drake said he agreed with the expenditure, citing Grass Valley and Nevada City as other municipalities whose councils passed similar short-term library funding mechanisms. Drake also reminded councilmembers the action is a one-time expenditure.

At the May 1 council meeting, Kelley Carroll on behalf of the Friends of the Truckee Library requested additional library funding. Specifically, Carroll asked councilmembers to agree to the MOU. Carroll also requested the council to fund up to $10,000 to help pay for additional hours.

Not asking the town to foot the entire bill, Friends of the Library also agreed to provide funds for additional hours and staffing.

Nevada County has cut funding to Truckee’s library, which resulted in it being open a mere 24 hours per week with no weekend service. Nevada County’s budget for fiscal year 1997-98 does not include funding for additional hours of operation.

Based on internal figures documenting reading material check-ins and check-outs, the library is experiencing a 25 percent decline in use, Carroll said.

“This confirms that the current hours of operation deprive many Truckee residents of any real access to the library, which Saturday service could alleviate,” he said.

Friends of the Library has kept the library open for more than 44 hours each week on a regular basis thanks to its volunteer program. Carroll said, however, there is a strong need for having two staff members on the payroll.

“The Friends have been quite successful in the past 18 months at mobilizing and managing community support for the library,” Carroll said. “We have almost 200 paid supporters and a considerable list of individuals and business volunteers who have given in-kind assistance.”

But, according to Carroll, the resource pool is not enough to guarantee additional hours for the community.

“We are hopeful this MOU and the public-private funding from Truckee will need to exist for only the single year in question, and thereafter the county will have the necessary funds,” Carroll said. “The Friends do not think it prudent to allow for another 18 months of substandard funding to deprive our town of the benefits that only a public library can provide.”

The expenditure needed to provide extended hours and extra staff resources is estimated at $13,466. The cost includes $8,461 to pay one librarian and a library assistant on Saturday; $2,338 for the two staff positions to stay two hours longer Thursdays; and $2,677 for the assistant to work two extra hours Wednesday through Thursday.

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