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Library Stays Open 7 Days a Week, Despite Cuts

Reductions in extra librarian hours, books, supplies in the new approved budget for FY 2011-12 starts July 1.

The will continue to open seven days a week with a trimmed budget approved on Thursday by the Santa Clara County Library Joint Powers Authority Board.

There will be no layoffs in the county libraries. In Milpitas, the personnel budget was decreased by about $28,000. That means there will be less hours for extra help, including from four half-time librarians, according to , community librarian.

The amount of materials checked out at the new Milpitas Public Library has nearly doubled from the old location, from 1.4 million to 2.7 million from a decade ago, yet it continues to operate with about the same number of full-time employees. In 2001, 35 full-time employees worked at the library. The budget for the upcoming fiscal year allows for the equivalent of 37.7 full-time employees.

Arbaugh credits the advances in technology that have reduced demands on staff time, such as the book return that scans the bar code as patrons put the books on the conveyor belt. It not only checks in the books, but roughly sorts them.

The 2011-12 fiscal year budget begins July 1 with the following:

  • Monday hours at the library and two hours on Tuesday mornings will continue to be funded by the city's hotel tax, a 10 percent tax charged on visitors lodging in Milpitas.
  • Money budgeted for books and materials, will see a six percent decrease, from $746,652 to $701,913.
  • A bare bones budget for supplies, with no room for "extras" such as CD carousels.

The number of patrons is expected to decrease with the new $80 library card fee for those living outside the city boundaries starting July 1. Without the card, they will not be able to check out materials or access computers and wireless internet. Students who attend school in a district whose boundaries overlap with the Santa Clara County Library system will be eligible for a .

About 47 percent of patrons who use the Milpitas Public Library do not live in the city, according to Arbaugh. About a quarter reside in San Jose, and slightly more than a fifth are from Fremont.

libraryless June 10, 2011 at 07:05 AM
This library, which I live 5 minutes from, is closed to me and according to this article 47% of its patrons as of July 1st. While I'm glad no one will lose their job, this is a huge blow to the community. I hope they remove the word "public" from their sign as this is now a private library that discourages and discriminates against members of the local community.

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