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updated: 12/9/2011 6:26 PM

Sugar Grove Library to cut hours from schedule

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  • The Sugar Grove Library.

       The Sugar Grove Library.
    Susan Sarkauskas | Staff Photographer

 
 

Sugar Grove Library patrons will have less time to use the facility starting Jan. 1 because hours are being cut to save money.

The library board decided Thursday to close the library an hour earlier Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings.

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That means the library will only be open 41 hours a week, far less than libraries in neighboring North Aurora, Elburn, Aurora and Batavia. Those libraries are open 66 to 68 hours a week, and seven days a week, including Sunday afternoons. The Sugar Grove Library is closed Sundays and Mondays.

"That hour (8 to 9 p.m.) those nights is very slow for us," said interim library director Marilyn Boria.

The move will save the library about $3,100 from January through June 30, the end of its fiscal year. The library board is looking for nickels and dimes to save everywhere at the perennially cash-strapped library, where voters have refused more than a dozen times to increase operating taxes, even though they approved constructing a new building.

Its financial problems have been exacerbated this year by the firing of its longtime director, legal bills resulting from that firing and public inquiries into how the board conducts its business, payments for interim directors and the hiring of a consultant to look for a new director.

The library has budgeted operating expenditures of $352,000 remaining for the fiscal year. That does not include the $424,790 loan payment it will make Jan. 1.

"The financial condition of the library is quite serious," Treasurer Dan Herkes told the board Thursday. He expects a "significant revenue shortfall" for the rest of the fiscal year, and recommended the board transfer money out of the Snow Street Fund to the operating fund.

"The Sugar Grove Library has been woefully underfunded for years," he said. Unless voters agree to increase operating taxes, " ... the losses will likely continue and the library services will be further curtailed."

Boria is trying to determine how $78,000 in the special reserve fund could be spent. The money legally is restricted to being spent on the library's relatively new building, she said. The library also has more than $165,000 in the Snow Street Fund, which trustees have repeatedly said is designated to pay for repair costs on the new building. It is not, however, legally restricted to that.

Meanwhile, the library will have a forum at 10 a.m. Saturday for people to discuss what they want in a new library director.

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