Citizens Library cuts summer children’s programs

July 8, 2014
Jeremy Hanna, 16, and Colbie Harrell, 15, are shown in the Teen Citizen area of Citizens Library in this 2012 photo. The library is being forced to cut its offerings after Trinity Area School District pulled its funding. - Observer-Reporter Order a Print

The decision by Trinity Area School District to eliminate its funding to Citizens Library is forcing the library to lose one staff position through attrition and reduce the number of hours its children’s department is open during the week, with more cuts possible this fall.

Citizen Library announced on its website the changes that went into effect Saturday, less than three weeks after Trinity’s school board voted on its budget that eliminated its annual $26,250 contribution to the library.

Diane Ambrose, the library’s director, said that donation equaled three months of utility bills or two part-time positions. Ambrose said there have been no layoffs, but one clerical position was eliminated when a worker recently left for another job.

“We’re doing the best we can to provide quality services to the residents, and that’s all we can do,” Ambrose said.

The library announced it was closing the children’s department at 6 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays through the end of the Summer Reading Club because more staff members are required during the day. The children’s department also will be closed all day on Saturdays through the summer.

The exceptions will be Wednesday evenings, when the department stays open for the Summer Reading Club’s Family Night programs.

More program and staff cuts could be on the horizon for Citizens Library. An email to supporters ends with the ominous message that “more cuts coming this fall …” if new funding sources are not found.

Ambrose said the cuts also affect Trinity students, especially those in high school who perform public service at the library to graduate, because the level of staffing will no longer permit proper supervision. She also pointed to cuts to teen and children’s programs that are heavily attended by Trinity students.

“Those are the kinds of things with our partnership that will really suffer between us and the school district,” Ambrose said.

Trinity’s contribution accounted for about 16 percent of funding provided by area municipalities and school districts.

Mike Jones has been a news reporter since 2005, covering crime, state and municipal government, education and energy. In addition to working at the Observer-Reporter, he also has spent time at the Charleston (W.Va.) Daily Mail and He holds a journalism degree from West Virginia University.

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