Ten branches with the Douglas County Library system will close on April 1 this year.

That was the conclusion Douglas County commissioners reached prior to a library staff meeting Monday. The announcement was first made at the staff meeting.

The branch closures are part of an overall plan to ramp down library services by the end of the fiscal year in June.

The 10 closures include branches in Canyonville, Drain, Glendale, Myrtle Creek, Oakland, Reedsport, Riddle, Sutherlin, Winston and Yoncalla. The main library in Roseburg will have a tentative closure date of May 30.

Before the staff meeting Monday, Douglas County Library Director Harold Hayes reached out to commissioners for a consensus on funding the library, Commissioner Chris Boice said.

Ever since voters turned down a taxing district in November that would have kept the library afloat, the county has been struggling to find a means of funding it.

Hayes gave the commissioners three options. The first option would have left the budget as is, which would prompt immediate closure due to lack of funding. The second option would have pulled money out of the general fund to keep the system open through the end of the fiscal year in June, which would cost an extra $300,000. The original 2017 fiscal year budget for the library included expenditures of $1.4 million, with a general fund contribution of $625,000.

The last option would have been to completely fund the system indefinitely.

The commissioners went with the second option. They did not reach this decision in a public meeting, but rather, through an administrative task put forth by the library department head.

“We make dozens of decisions a week, administrative decisions, without (public) meetings,” Commissioner Tim Freeman said. “That’s part of how we administer the county.”

Hayes and Boice made the announcement to ramp down services to library staff on Monday. Boice, the commissioners’ library liaison, was the only commissioner present at the meeting.

“We don’t have to have a commissioner meeting to give a department head direction,” Boice said.

The commissioners will need to make any budgetary decisions in a public setting, Boice said. That includes pulling $300,000 out of the general fund.

The county library system is staffed by eight full-time, 28 part-time and 12 on-call employees.

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City Government Reporter

April Ehrlich covers city government for The News-Review. She can be contacted at 541-957-4202 or aehrlich@nrtoday.com. Follow her on Twitter @AprilEhrlich.

(7) comments

PickNGrin
PickNGrin

Any future library organization (city-run, volunteer and/or nonprofit) that doesn't receive regular tax funding will have to heavily rely on various fundraising strategies to support operations, services, resources, programs, events & projects:
** Individual & family donations, including automatic monthly contributions
** Business sponsorships
** Grants
** Special fundraising events
** Planned giving
** Volunteer in-kind staffing donations

Mogie
Mogie

With timber revenues almost nonexistent with county has to live within their means.

Thank you for not putting another tax increase on the elderly living on fixed incomes. If you want to keep this open then please do so by footing the bills.

TLH-ALB1
TLH-ALB1

Instead of "county" run libraries, what's wrong with "city" run libraries??

pinkconcrete
pinkconcrete

A failure to those who most need a resource of written information. But these are most likely same people who voted against measure 97 to have non-oregon based corporations pay their fair share. Now those much needed state funds will come from the people of Oregon by way of new taxes and lost services. And you won't be exempt from the new taxes just because you cannot or will not read.

Mogie
Mogie

The reason I voted against measure 97 was because it was another sales tax that everyone would end up paying. If you want to keep this open then put your money where your mouth is.

nr77
nr77

Very disappointed the library isn't being kept open.Rural residents depend on their library and deliveries to outlying areas. Not all County departments can be self sustaining. Why is this the only department suggested to run on volunteers alone, plus provide their own funding.

mysteron
mysteron

Disappointing that rather than take a scalpel to the problem, the commissioners are taking a scythe and closing all of the libraries. That doesn't seem like management to me, it looks more like 'let's just close them all and get rid of the problem so we don't have to think about it any more'.

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