Some patrons suggested alternative fund-raising strategies.
AUSTINTOWN — Township residents using their local library branch expressed disappointment in the reduction in library hours approved Thursday by the board of trustees of the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County.
“I don’t like it,” Samantha Butler said of the cutback. “We come here at least twice a week, sometimes three or four times a week,” said Butler, who was at the library with her 3-year-old son, Nathaniel.
Butler, who said she signed a petition against the cutbacks, suggested the libraries could raise money by increasing fines for overdue books and having more book sales and other fund-raising projects.
The library patrons made their comments shortly after the library board approved a systemwide reduction of 113 hours a week of library service beginning Sept. 8. The change will mean most branches will lose one day a week of library service. When the change occurs, the Austintown branch will be closed every Friday.
“It sucks, but where are we going to come up with the money for the budget?” asked Jeremy Day, also of Austintown. “I don’t see any alternative right now. It’s just hard times for everybody,” he said.
Day then suggested: “Maybe they could charge for using the computers,” at least on a temporary basis.
Day said he’d vote for a library levy renewal Nov. 3 and probably would vote for a 1.7-mill combination replacement and additional levy.
“Lately, I’ve been here just about every other day,” said Jennifer Glavic, another patron. “It’s probably going to be an inconvenience,” she said of the Friday closings beginning in September. “I’ll be going to YSU in the fall, and I’ll probably need that time here,” she added.
“The state funding reductions aren’t fair,” Glavic said, but she said she couldn’t immediately think of any alternatives to the cuts.
When asked if she’d vote for a renewal levy, she replied: “Of course.” When asked whether she’d support the 1.7 mill combination, Glavic replied: “Probably, because I think the library’s a good service to the community.”
She concluded: “Books are expensive to purchase. ... It’s better to borrow them than it is to buy them.”