Fallston library remains open
Kate Froehlich, Executive Editor
July 4, 2009
Filed under News
The Fallston Library will not be closed as the Harford County Public Library Board of Trustees unanimously approved a new budget plan that will spread budget cuts across the entire library system.
A June 24 press release announced the Board’s revised budget recommendations, calling for a 10% reduction in staff, five furlough days for employees, 20% cut in the material budgets, reduction in the materials and maintenance budgets, closing of the Small Business Center, reduction of programs, and closing all branches on Sundays, plus closing all branches four more hours during the week.
Harford County Public Library Board of Trustees member Monroe Manning specifically cited the cutting of many periodicals the library normally receives as a major downfall of the new plan, although this is easily remedied by “enough on the Internet and TV that one could find enough information to satisfy their need.” He found the libraries’ closing on Sunday to be the most difficult budget cut because “Lots of people are off Sundays, and folks have to find something else to do on Sundays.”
Director Audra Caplan said in response to the new budget, “We heard the Fallston community and will move forward. We will do the best we can with the resources we have.”
Manning found the cuts unfortunate but necessary. “Everyone in all walks of life are experiencing the downturn, every household is experiencing it. It is not just the library,” he said.
The cuts will clearly have an effect on daily library operation as well as on members of the Friends of Fallston Library, a foundation that helps the library financially, said Hellen Reed. “We must realize with cuts in service and cuts in personnel, we need to be patient when we go to our library branch.”
Even with the announcement made on June 24 via a statement issued by the Board about the continual operation of the library, a public hearing was still held June 25 at Fallston High School, with a continuation of the strong outpouring of support seen the Thursday before at the Bel Air branch.
Speaker Jim Willard, echoing the opinion of the pro-library advocates, said, “I didn’t come here to live in a third rate county. I came here to live in a county we can be proud of,” a statement which drew a round of applause from the audience.
The library, as evident by the community support of the Fallston branch, is considered by many to be an essential fixture in the community. JC history teacher Jake Hollin, who spoke at the hearing and whose family utilizes the Fallston branch regularly, said, “The library is not just a building, but a community gathering place. It is the fabric that holds our community together. We value our friends, we value our family, we value our library.”
Additional Reporting by Kaitlin Bobbin
Kate Froehlich can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.