CHAPEL HILL -The newly released budget proposal for the Town of Chapel Hill calls for an additional $100,000 to keep the Chapel Hill Public Library open an extra four hours each week. This brings the total number of library hours up to 58, still short of the 68 hours per week prior to its expansion.
Karen Curtin, Director of the Friends of the Chapel Hill Public Library, calls the additional funding only “a partial solution.”
“We have a much bigger library now and we’re asking people to perform jobs across a much broader area but we’re not putting in more people to do it,” Curtin said.
Curtin says the staff is overwhelmed right now. She says the model of a 68 hour week worked well and the Town should fund the library so they can operate with a full staff.
“Just putting another $100,000 into the budget and opening another four hours is not going to alleviate what they are going through right now,” she said.
She says the usage of the library is up tremendously from last year, and the smaller staff is dealing with shelving issues instead of reference questions.
“We don’t have a fully-functional library,” Curtin said. “And what we’re talking about in funding is not enough to get us there. What we are talking about is not a feasible proposal.”
The budget for this year contained funding to hire new staff so that the expanded library could operate for the full 68 hour weekly schedule; however those new positions were not hired due to uncertainty by the Town. It was feared it wasn’t affordable to maintain those positions in the 2014’s fiscal year budget.
The Town Council is hosting a public hearing on the budget Monday night at 7 o’clock in Council Chambers at Town Hall.