Budget cuts lead to library closures beginning May 28

Camas Library will not be open on Saturdays through early September

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The Camas Public Library will soon be closed on Saturdays, from May 28 to Sept. 3. The action is a result of budget cutting measures approved by the City Council in December 2010.

In one of this year’s most publicly visible impacts of a whittled down budget, the Camas Public Library will be closed each Saturday from May 28 through Sept. 3.

According to Library Director David Zavortink, Saturdays were selected for the closure because library data indicates that this is the day of the week, particularly during the summer, that produces the lightest foot traffic and lowest circulation. In addition, on this day of the week there is often no scheduled library programming and public’s use of meeting rooms at the downtown facility is low.

Zavortink said the Saturday closure impacts the smallest number of people.

“It wasn’t a spur-of-the-moment decision,” he said. “We looked at things from many angles and decided on what seems to disrupt the fewest number of folks.”

The closure, for a total of 15 Saturdays, was planned during the city’s budget process that was completed in December 2010 with the City Council approval of the 2011 budget. The move, in addition to other cuts, saves the library’s operating expenses approximately $60,000.

Other reductions impacting the library this year include eliminating the summer reading program staff hours, and trimming funding for custodial services, repairs and utilities, and the book budget. An additional 10-day continuous closure of the library will take place from Dec. 24 through Jan. 2.

The closures, in addition to other work hour reductions, represent a total of 1,900 work hours of furloughs for all library staff.

“The Library Board and I are doing our best to maintain the library’s core services and will continue to do that for the community as we work through the next few annual budget cycles,” Zavortink said. “However, for the library, reductions in staff work hours mean reductions in public service hours.”

Because the library is already closed every Sunday, while the Saturday closure is implemented the library will only be open weekdays — Monday through Thursday, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Friday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Those who wish to return library books anytime the library is closed can do so at the curb side book drop located on Northeast Everett Street, between Fourth and Fifth avenues.

Zavortink said it is possible that further reductions could take place in 2011.

“At this time, these are the known closures,” he said. “But, with the hiring freeze in place, if the library loses additional staff before the end of the year, additional adjustments in hours or services will be necessary.”