Carrollton library hours reinstated

Published 10:13 pm Wednesday, October 5, 2016

The Carrollton library will celebrate reinstated Friday hours this week with a cake-and-coffee social from noon to 5 p.m.

In mid-September, Isle of Wight County supervisors approved a $20,000 grant to the Blackwater Regional Library to restore hours reduced by budget cuts earlier this summer.

“We were absolutely ecstatic about the support of our city and Board of Supervisors,” said Jenny Bailey, Blackwater Regional Library director.

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The county cut more than $11,000 from the library system’s budget request in the spring, forcing libraries to reduce their hours of operation.

The Carrollton and Smithfield branches were affected by the cuts. Carrollton was closed on Fridays, while Smithfield’s Wednesday closing time was changed to 5 p.m. from 8 p.m.

Bailey, who used to work at the Carrollton library, recalled there “was always a Friday rush,” as parents and students came by to get what they needed before the weekend, when the library has limited Saturday hours is closed on Sundays.

The reduction was an inconvenience to those users, and many of them rallied to have the library hours reinstated.

“Lots of patrons sent letters to the Isle of Wight County Board of Supervisors,” said Nicole Piland, senior library assistant at the Carrollton library.

Eventually, a handful of the county’s supervisors and Blackwater board members met to address the dilemma, said Donald Robertson, Isle of Wight County assistant county administrator.

The county eventually agreed to fund the libraries, and Blackwater in turn reinstated the hours, according to Robertson.

“We now have more time to provide the services we offer,” Bailey said.

With the additional funding, Piland said, the Carrollton branch will also be able to restart several of its community programs and activities.

The library staff was overjoyed and wanted to celebrate the occasion with the social.

“The community is excited, as well,” Piland said. “They couldn’t get into not going to the library on Fridays.”