Citizens Library receives $100K donation in wake of Trinity funding loss

July 11, 2014
Landin Garber, 7, looks through books he may want to take home with his mother, Junell Garber of Washington, Friday in the children’s department of Citzens Library. The library reduced the children’s department hours after Trinity School District pulled its annual contribution, and doesn’t plan to use part of a $100,000 contribution to restore them. - Jim McNutt/Observer-Reporter Order a Print

Citizens Library received a $100,000 donation from an anonymous donor.

The library was notified of the donation a few days after Trinity Area School District eliminated its annual $26,250 contribution to the library at a June 18 school board meeting.

The donation, from a longtime library supporter who did not want to be identified, has no restrictions for how it can be used.

Library Director Diane Ambrose said the money will not be used to restore the hours at the children’s department, which were reduced for the summer July 8.

Ambrose, who made the administrative decision to reduce the hours at the children’s department (the board of Citizens Library, which does not meet again until Aug. 19, did not vote on the move), said the reduced hours were a result of the school district, which is financially strapped, pulling its funding.

According to Ambrose, the library relies on municipal funding to help cover yearly operating expenses – which would include staff on-duty during the children’s library hours – and does not use large donations for salaries and day-to-day expenses.

The children’s department now closes at 6 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays and is closed on Saturdays until the summer reading program ends in early August.

The library also opted not to hire a part-time employee after a worker left for another job.

Ambrose did not provide an exact amount for how much money the library will save by reducing hours and losing a position through attrition, but estimated it would save “several thousands.”

In the weeks since Trinity pulled its funding, the library has received other donations, including a $1,000 contribution made in response to the library’s loss of funding from Trinity.

Trinity’s contribution accounts for about 3 percent of the library’s approximately $930,000 2014 budget and 16 percent of its funding provided by municipalities and school districts.

The library plans to earmark about 20 percent of its approximately $3.2 million in restricted and unrestricted endowments and investments for use in its preliminary 2015 budget.

Karen Mansfield is an award-winning journalist and mom of five who has been a staff writer for the Observer-Reporter since 1988. She enjoys reading, the Pittsburgh Steelers, a good glass of wine and nice people.

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