Library considering cutting back hours 7 percent

July 12, 1992|By Carol L. Bowers | Carol L. Bowers,BOARD OF LIBRARY TRUSTEESStaff Writer

The Harford County Public Library will have fewer hours under a plan being considered by the Board of Trustees.

A public hearing on the proposed hour changes has been scheduled for 7 p.m. July 23 at the Joppa Branch located at 655 Towne Center Drive.

"We're considering decreasing our total hours by 7 percent," said Philip A. Place, library director. "We tried to zero in on the hours of heaviest use so that we'll be open when people need us to be open."

But he said budget constraints, and the county's continuing population growth, have put the libraries' quality of service in jeopardy.

"We're really on the edge of deterioration of quality of our service," said Mr. Place. "Estimates show about 4,400 more people will be moving to Harford by 2000. About half will get library cards. We just don't have the resources to meet all their needs."

To save money and time, the library system will attempt to consolidate its services, reducing total hours and operating during the same hours all year, instead of switching to different hours for winter and summer months.

In an effort to make up for having fewer operating hours, book drops, which were abandoned in the 1970s, will be reinstituted, Mr. Place said.

"We've had more requests for night book drops than anything else in the three years I've been here," said Mr. Place. "They have their problems -- people will put anything in them."

Hours at six of the county's 10 library branches would change under the proposal. The affected branches are in Aberdeen, Bel Air, Edgewood, Fallston, Havre de Grace and Joppa.

Most of the six branches would have reduced hours. The Bel Air branch, the most heavily used, would remain open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays and would be open from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Wednesdays, 1 to 5 p.m. on Fridays and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays, under the proposal.

Mr. Place said another argument for reducing branch operating hours is that library staff will have more time to attend to "behind-the-scenes" activities such as shelving books and other administrative tasks that are often put off.

In addition, staff members will be able to put security strips and bar code labels on materials in preparation for the library system's new computer system.

Hours at the Darlington, Highland, Norrisville and Whiteford branches would remain unchanged.

Proposed library hours

0$

(Current hours in parentheses)

Branch .. .. ..Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday

Aberdeen .. .. ..11-8 .. 11-8 .. .. 1-8 .. .11-8 .. 1-5 .. .10-5

.. .. .. .. .. (10-9) ..(1-9) .. (10-9) .. (1-9) .(1-6) ..(10-5)

Bel Air ... .. ..10-9 .. 10-9 .. .. 1-9 .. .10-9 .. 1-5 .. .10-5

.. .. .. .. .. (10-9) .(10-9) .. (10-9) ..(10-9) (10-6) ..(10-5)

Darlington .. .. .3-5 .closed .. .. 3-5 .. .10-2 closed .. .10-2

... .. .. .. ..6:30-8 .. .. .. ..6:30-8 .. .. .. .. ... .. .. ..

Edgewood .. .. ..11-8 .. 11-8 ... ..1-8 .. .11-8 .. 1-5 .. .11-3

... .. .. .. ..(10-9) ..(1-9) .. (10-9) .. (1-9) .(1-6) ..(10-5)

Fallston .. .. ..11-8 .. 11-8 .. .. 1-8 .. .11-8 .. 1-5 .. .10-5

.. .. .. .. .. (10-9) ..(1-9) .. (10-9) .. (1-9) .(1-6) . (10-5)

Havre de Grace ..11-8 .. 11-8 .. .. 1-5 .. .11-8 .. 1-5 .. .11-3

.. .. .. .. .. (10-9) .(10-6) .. (10-6) ..(10-9) .(1-6) ..(10-5)

Highland .. .. closed .. .5-8 .. .. 9-2 .. ..9-2 closed ..closed

Joppa .. .. .. ..11-8 .. 11-8 .. .. 1-5 .. .11-8 .. 1-5 .. .10-5

.. .. .. .. . .(10-9) ..(1-9) .. (10-9) .. (1-9) .(1-6) ..(10-5)

Norrisville .. closed .. 10-2 .. .. 6-8 .. ..3-5 closed .. .10-2

Whiteford .. .. ..1-8 .. 10-2 .. .. 1-8 .. .10-2 .. 1-5 .. .10-2

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