The Libraries of Stevens County will be eliminating Saturday hours at the Kettle Falls, Colville, Chewelah, Loon Lake, and Lakeside libraries starting January, 2015. After the recent levy failure, library staff and library board members met to finalize a budget for 2015. Over the course of the fall, there had been a hiring freeze when two employees left the library to take other jobs. A total of 60 staff hours was left vacated. Library staff determined that if only half of those hours, 30, were to be filled, that the Library District would be able to balance the budget for 2015.
With the reduction of staffing hours, however, open hours will need to be reduced. The Colville, Kettle Falls, and Chewelah Libraries will, however, extend their Friday evening hours to 6 p.m., so that people have a better chance of being able to pick something up before the weekend. Previously, those libraries closed at 5 p.m. Saturdays were selected as the day to close because roughly half the number of people come into the library on Saturday.
Library Director, Amanda Six stated: “Closing the library on Saturdays was not an easy decision for us to make. Library staff and the Library Board worked for several weeks to find alternative ways to balance the budget with the revenue we have. We know that this will impact our communities, but we will, as always, strive to provide excellent library services. We appreciate the patience and understanding of our patrons as we make this transition, effective January 1, 2015.”
Six did stress, however, that the library’s website (thelosc.org), is available 24/7. From the website, patrons are able to place holds, renew items, download audio and ebooks, access databases, and much more.
The Library District board chose not to put the levy back on the ballot in 2015; in part because of the cost. It costs the library district over $35,000 to put something on the ballot. These costs are paid to the County Auditor’s office for administrative and printing costs. In addition, by law, the library is required to provide information to all box-holders in the district regarding any library-related issues on the ballot.
The levy failed by just 667 votes (7,664 “no” and 6,997 “yes”.)
-Submitted by Libraries of Stevens County