For the first time since the Washington Township Library closed its doors to the public on Sundays, the institution’s Board of Trustees will meet.
A very heavy interest in the library’s Sunday closings – which have now endured two consecutive weekends – was taken by residents after the announcement was made in the first week of January.
The reason behind the closings was due to budget shortfalls, according to library director Jacqueline Zuzzi, The library will operate on a $938,920 budget in 2014, with an additional $8,000 from state aid.
By closing Sundays, Zuzzi said, the cost of payroll will decrease, but still doesn’t make up for the $176,824 lost in overall library funding in Washington Township since 2011.
“We’ve reduced costs over the years but we’ve gotten to a point where we can’t make ends meet,” Zuzzi said when the announcement was made. “It’s disappointing. But it would also be irresponsible of me to cut back programming or book or media purchases. That’s what we’re here for.”
Sundays were chosen as the day to close for a number of reasons, but the biggest of which was that staff was being paid time and-a-half to work between 1 and 5 p.m. at the library. Staff cuts were made, which led to the closure of Sundays.
The library’s largest budget item is staffing, but the organization also pays for its own services, including landscaping, snow removal, and building insurance, Zuzzi said.
Residents spoke out on Patch when the report was made, and brought up numerous alternatives to bring to the board, including keeping the library open Sundays and staffed by volunteers, or staying open seven days per week but shortening hours on other days.
The meeting of the board of trustees is scheduled to take place at the library on Tuesday, Feb. 4 from 7 to 9 p.m. It is open to the public and residents are encouraged to attend.