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New library hours not result of new spending

In this 2012 file photo, patrons use the Five Forks Branch Library following a renovation.

In this 2012 file photo, patrons use the Five Forks Branch Library following a renovation.

LAWRENCEVILLE — An increase in service hours at Gwinnett County library branches, scheduled to go into effect next week, is independent of a recent vote to cut the library’s materials budget by $500,000, officials clarified Monday.

At the same mid-January meeting, the Gwinnett County Public Library board of trustees voted to approve both a $500,000 decrease in the library’s materials budget and an increase in operation hours for the system’s 15 branches. The latter, scheduled to go into effect March 3, bumped 3 p.m. branch closings (which are sporadic and on different days for each branch) back to 6 p.m., adding six hours of library time to each branch each week.

The moves seem contradictory, but at a board workshop Monday night, GCPL branch service division manager Barbara Spruill said the boost from 44 to 50 hours a week was not the product of additional spending.

It came “as a result of an ongoing process ... of creating greater efficiencies in the use of the library’s staff and resources,” Spruill said. A number of part-time positions with benefits have been converted to hourly jobs sans benefits, she said.

“The number of positions are exactly the same as they were (when a budget was approved) in May,” business services director Jane Walters told the board. “There might have been some repositioning in trying to get the best bang for our buck.”

Officials said they are currently seeking to fill about 13 positions. Those employees will work 17 hours a week without vacations or health insurance, as opposed to the 20 hours previously worked by part-time employees who had benefits.

The new hourly employees will be assigned a home branch and be able to float to two more, Spruill said.

“They will be fully trained,” Spruill said.

The $500,000 slash in the materials budget came in January, after the county announced a $1 million deduction in funding. GCPL’s materials budget is typically around $3 million a year.

The board also voted on Jan. 14 to continue a pay freeze for full-time library staff.

Comments

kevin 1 year, 4 months ago

Where are the crowds in this picture?

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Gundoctor1 1 year, 4 months ago

The crowds are the same place that the library staff raises have been for the last 5+ years non existant.....

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Dickens 1 year, 4 months ago

Just proves the library system has been wasting money all along. Now all of a sudden they can extend hours? So they are paying more for personnel yet are scaling back the new releases and materials people are looking for. One won't find common sense in the library board.

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OddThomas 1 year, 4 months ago

Very impressed the photographer found a time where Five Forks isn't busy. What was it, the day after reopening? It'll be months before gape-mouthed masses stop going in to that place saying "You're OPEN???"

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JodyR 1 year, 4 months ago

Close the libraries that are 3 miles away from each other and save the county $180,000 to $300,000 a year. then there will be more money for staff, materials, and longer hours. Gwinnett does not need 16 libraries. 12 would do. Everyone has been down sizing from retail stores to government departments. It's about time libraries did the same.

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amazing 1 year, 4 months ago

3 cheers for the board of trustees. There's no use having a library if the buildings are not open.

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CoryLev 1 year, 4 months ago

This coming from a library system that banned "Fifty Shades of Grey". Card catalogues have been long replaced with computers and search engines; and it's time to replace some of the directors that have been there as long as the card catalogues. Get library directors that reflect what the public wants and needs NOT what they feel we should be reading.

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Why_not 1 year, 4 months ago

I M not sure about the other locations but I drive by the Lilburn branch often and the parking lot is always full during hours of operation. On an unrelated issue, we have some of the nicest parks anywhere and it seems that our county is over-saturated with them. I think it's time to definitely back off on the parks construction. Many of the ones we have are under utilized as it is.

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