Carrollton library to cut hours

Published 9:04 pm Monday, June 27, 2016

Carrollton citizens will find their library closed on Fridays starting this week thanks to budget cuts.

Sanford B. Wanner, the Isle of Wight interim county administrator, said one of the contributing factors for the reduced library hours was the county’s denial of the Blackwater Regional Library board’s proposed budget. The Smithfield branch will also be affected.

“The [board] requested $11,000 for its operations for the 2016-2017 fiscal year,” Wanner said. “But the county denied this and forced [the board] to cut its hours to those branches.”

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Carrollton library branch manager Shannon Conroy said the county’s adopted budget cut $11,000 from the proposed budget that would have been designated to the branches in the region — Smithfield, Carrollton and Windsor.

In response, the Carrollton and Smithfield branches had to make cuts to both hours of operation and staff hours. The Carrollton branch was forced to close business entirely on Fridays, effective July 1.

The Windsor branch did not sustain any hour changes.

Conroy agreed the reduced hours would be inconvenient yet necessary moving forward.

“We have to roll with the punches,” Conroy said.

The Carrollton branch was forced to eliminate the library assistant’s hours on Fridays. Essentially, Conroy would be the only one on staff, which is not ideal. Thereby, the branch decided to cease operations for the entire day.

The Smithfield branch reduced its Wednesday hours by three hours, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. to 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Smithfield branch manager Ben Neal declined to comment further on the budget cuts.

Conroy said her branch would not be able to adequately sustain its summer reading programs due to cuts in staff hours. It had to reduce its accommodation size and available staffers for supervision.

Despite being closed on Fridays, a weekly fitness class will remain at the Carrollton branch. Non-profit organization The Friends of the Carrollton Public Library, which works in conjunction with the library to improve its resources and services, sponsors this class.

The organization hired a full-time trainer to head the “Stretch and Tone” fitness class, which runs from 9 to 10 a.m. The class is targeted exclusively to senior citizens. Due to the nature of the program, one staffer suffices for supervision and doesn’t require additional library staff.

Moving forward, Conroy understands the reduced hours will affect visitor traffic. But she is hopeful library patrons will adjust.

“We will have to take it day by day and see what happens,” Conroy said.