Library reinstates hours that were cut
Written by KAREN NADLER COTA Sentinel Lifestyles Editor
Thursday, 18 July 2013 10:01
The Wood County District Public Library is planning to expand its hours of operation, starting Sept. 3.
The 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. hour will finally be restored Monday through Saturday at the main library in Bowling Green.
"The community deserves this level of service, so we're excited," library director Michael Penrod stated. "We have wanted to do it for a year."
Penrod reported the plan at Tuesday's monthly meeting of the Wood County District Library Board. It represents the final stage of restoration of hours that were initially cut in 2009-2010 in response to deep funding cuts from the state.
"We have been cautious in bringing back the hours that had been cut," Penrod added, in case state funding cuts had continued. Some hours were restored in 2011, then more in 2012.
As of September, the Bowling Green library will be all the way back to being open the same as in decades past. Hours of operation will become 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday.
At the Walbridge branch, two more hours will be restored on Thursdays and one more hour on Fridays. On Thursday that library currently is open from 1 to 7 p.m. That will expand to 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday's hours, now 2 to 5 p.m., will become 1 to 5.
"There were two (weekday) hours in the morning that are not being added back at Walbridge, but instead we've added more hours on Friday to meet the community need," said Penrod.
The above actions are all in line with the promise the library made that if its levy passed, full services and hours of operation would be restored.
Penrod said the state budget situation is finally improving, "considering all the things that could have happened. We've reversed a 10-year trend of annual freezes or reductions.
"We're still down 30 percent on state funding since 2001, but there has been a removal of all freezes."
That means that if the state's revenue stream increases, the library's share of state dollars will also increase.
The library board held Tuesday's meeting in the nearly-restored Carter House, the 136-year-old structure immediately west of the main library that was donated to the library by Robert and Pat Maurer in 2006.
Landscaping of the property is almost complete, and the back driveway will soon be re-graveled. Final inspections are near, Penrod said.
The recent Carter House open house was a resounding success.
"I lost count at 100 people and couples coming in the front door," with more entering through the accessible back entrance during the four-hour event, Penrod said.
Comments were uniformly positive.
"This will be perfect for a small wedding," one person noted.
Already, two book groups have held their meetings in the Carter House, added Michele Raine, assistant director.
The board approved a public rental policy for the Carter House, basing it on the policy for renting the meeting room in the library itself. The fee will be $100 for up to a four-hour span, plus $10 per hour for additional hours. Alcoholic beverages may be served on-site, but not sold, for an additional $75 fee.
The Carter House is available for rental Mondays through Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sundays from 1 to 10 p.m. Towing begins at 11 p.m.
In other business, Penrod announced the library has hired two new part-time assistants in the children's department, and is currently interviewing applicants to fill a vacancy for a reference assistant.
The board also went into executive session for the stated purpose of considering purchase of property. No action was taken.