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Library cuts hours, but little will change

Budget cuts the result of decreased population in census

When news arrived in January that the Estacada Library's budget would be decreasing by $62,342 - a 10-percent drop from the previous year, not the 23 percent that the library initially announced - the future looked bleak.

Turns out not much will change.

The library's staff had been monitoring circulation numbers for each hour the library was open over the previous 12 months. Circulation is simply defined as the number of items checked out.

When news broke that the budget needed to come down, Anna Stavinoha, the library's director, presented a plan to the library board to reduce costs by decreasing hours. Using these circulation numbers, Stavinoha suggested that morning and night hours be cut since neither of the times had much activity.

As an example, at 9 a.m. Wednesdays throughout the year, 953 items were checked out. At 4 p.m. Wednesdays, 3,990 items were checked out. As a result, the library will begin opening one hour later and closing one hour earlier on Monday and Wednesday, will open two hours later and close one hour earlier on Tuesday and Thursday, will open one hour later on Fridays and will open two hours later on weekends.

'I really want to reassure people that we are not happy about cutting staff hours,' Stavinoha said. 'We will still be offering all of the same services, and we want everyone to know that.'

What is interesting to note is that the reduction of weekly hours from 65 to 50 actually puts Estacada back in line with other local libraries such as the one in Sandy. In fact, when the new library first opened, it was open only 50 hours a week.

'We just have to maintain Oregon Library Association standards or we risk losing more funding,' Stavinoha said. 'We have to keep our services, our hours and our staffing.'

Unfortunately for the library, the budget has very few line items in it, so cutting personnel hours was the only solution. Stavinoha said, however, that no new staff members have been hired recently, so any employees who left had their hours divided among the existing employees. Essentially, many employees will simply be returning close to their original scheduling.

'I think they're doing their best to have the least impact possible while maintaining hours,' City Manager Bill Elliot said. 'If they get more money or find a more efficient way of doing things, then they can bring the hours back down the road.'

The decrease in funding was the result of a decreased population within the library's service area between the 2000 and 2010 census. Stavinoha did mention that an upcoming Portland State University census could bring back some funding.

The library, at 825 N.W. Wade St., will now be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday and Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.



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