The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Local News

August 12, 2009

Library board gives Lapel Branch high priority

ANDERSON — The Lapel Branch got a vote of confidence Wednesday from the Anderson Public Library Board, though not exactly a reprieve.

Board members Wednesday put the Lapel Branch atop of its combined ranking of library services. The rankings are meant to serve as a guide for what might have to be cut to address a widening budget shortfall.

“It was actually very eye-opening,” Lapel Branch manager Beth Meyer said after the meeting. She told the board that circulation at the Lapel Branch in July had increased 52 percent from July 2008.

Lapel Branch patron Barbara White said she was hopeful after Wednesday’s meeting. “The most important thing is that people have access and kids have access” to library materials, she said. She said she doubted Lapel patrons — many of whom walk to the library — would drive to Anderson for the same purpose.

Also attending Wednesday’s meeting were library staff members who also had rated core services with the realization that many of those areas will suffer budget cuts.

The rankings come as the library weighed options to narrow an expected budget deficit of $750,000 in 2010. Closing the Lapel Branch would save an estimated $300,000 a year, library officials have said.

The board members’ and staff priorities largely overlapped. After discussions, board members agreed to let staff rankings be a guide for recommendations on future cuts. However, board member Duane Hoak said that the board sent a strong message about its position on the Lapel Branch.

Board member Paul Muething said, “The board received a number of letters and comments from the community ... we’re listening to what the community is saying.”

Aside from the ranking on the Lapel Branch, library staff ranked services in this order, with an expectation that cuts would be made from the bottom:

• Information services

• Children’s programs

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