Decatur Public Library faces major cuts


More cuts are likely coming to the Decatur Public Library. The board is looking where to make those cuts.

It's the second round of cuts in three years. It's become an issue of expenses exceeding revenue. Each month the library is losing in the neighborhood of $50,000. Now the board says it needs to come up with immediate and long term changes to close the budget gap.

It's another chapter in the library's financial troubles.

"If we don't make adjustments, pretty soon a little hole is going to be a big hole and we just can't allow that," said City Librarian Lee Ann Fisher.

Fisher said the library is a little less than $300,000 in the hole.

Just one of the reasons why she presented the library board with ways to slash anywhere from $500,000 to $700,000 from its budget.

"We want to do this ahead of time, so like I say, we can do preventive maintenance," Fisher said.

Maintenance work that the library Board of Trustees will take on.

"We want to make sure that we maintain as much of the services, personnel as we can because we know what this library means to the Decatur community," said Teena Zindel-McWilliams President of the Board of Trustees.

And at Thursday's board meeting, members of the community made their questions, concerns and even ideas heard. Possible cutbacks in hours was a worry along with slashing staff and programs.

"I'm really interested in the computer classes a lot of seniors make use of that," said Decatur resident Linda Williams.

"If we do a reduction in staff and a reduction in hours obviously you can't continue doing what you're doing," Fisher explained.

The board said it wants to have a plan in place no later than Sept. 1.

At Thursday's meeting the board approved a cash advance from the city to cover the library's operating expenses.

The library's budget is around $3 million, most of that comes from property taxes.

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