Cumberland Times-News

Local News

March 20, 2014

Library hoping to re-establish Frostburg’s Sunday hours

CUMBERLAND — If county commissioners grant a funding request by the Allegany County Library System, plans are to restore Sunday hours at the Frostburg Library, John Taube, system director, said Thursday.

Without additional funding, the idea would have to be put on hold, Taube said. The library’s Sunday hours were eliminated several years ago in a cost-cutting move.

The cost of opening the Frostburg library on Sunday would be about $10,000, Taube said, mainly for the employee salary required.

Taube asked commissioners for an increase of $55,000, for a total budget of $995,000. Besides the added hours, the extra funds would make up for a nearly $10,000 cut in state funding, bringing the budget for books back to 2010 levels, and a  2 percent wage increase for library staff.

“Within the libraries ... we have many new faces within the last two years; half of our staff have retired or moved on to higher paying jobs,” Taube said.

Since 2008, the library has drained special accounts to help with tight budgets. Taube said he doesn’t want to continue that practice because money in non-restricted accounts is being greatly reduced.

In fiscal year 2013, the system checked out 560,000 items, including 25,000 items directly downloaded to patron devices, Taube said. And 10,000 people took part in summer reading programs.

The library introduced the AlleBucks program in October. The program helps kids and teens pay overdue fines, say for a movie, by reading. Students can pay down their fines and borrow from the library again, Taube said. Oversize fake dollar bills, “Allebucks,” are used in the program. Librarians sign off on the bucks based on the time a student reads. Teens 13-17 get $1 per 30 minutes of reading, while kids up to 12 get a dollar for 15 minutes of reading.

Taube was making the budget request by the library system to commissioners Thursday during budget hearings at county offices.

Matthew Bieniek can be contacted at mbieniek@times-news.com.

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