LEXINGTON PARK, Md. (June 9, 2011)—St. Mary's County Library Director Kathleen Reif announced Wednesday that the Lexington Park library will no longer open on Sundays, effective July 1. Reif says the decision was made by the Board of Library Trustees due to budget constraints.
"We have been proud to provide this service since 2005," said Board Vice-President Joan Springer. "However, looking at the past few years of funding and the projected FY-12 revenue and expenses, we determined this is no longer a service our county can afford."
The cost of delivering library services has outpaced the funding levels over the past several years. Since 2008, the county's funding to the library has increased by $30,260 (2%) while the state's allocation has decreased by $38,400 (7%). In FY-12, the county will provide the same level of funding to the library as was provided in FY-11 but the state will reduce its allocation by $35,000.
When deciding which services to reduce to deal with these funding levels, the Library Board concluded the best option was to reduce the staff costs of opening on Sundays, according to a press release from the library. Other options considered were reducing the materials and technology budgets. The Library Board decided not to reduce the materials budget since the library continues to rank #4 in the state for materials checked out per person. The Board members also felt it necessary to maintain the technology resources for county residents who are dependent upon the library for their access to the Internet and computer programs.
"The Library Board is committed to resuming Sunday hours once the economy improves and funding levels from the county and state can be increased," said Reif.