Saturday, June 22, 2013

‘Friends’ newsletter warns of library closures

Library card: Jackson County Library Services in Oregon
The June newsletter for Friends of the Medford Library warns of possible furloughs to close a budget gap of nearly $400,000 for Jackson County Library Services beginning in July. “Library administrators are exploring ways to absorb these cuts, but most likely it will mean a furlough, temporarily closing every library in the county for 2-4 weeks.”

The newsletter continues: “This closure, which would occur sometime in the next 12 months, might be just the beginning of library troubles, the County Budget Committee warned. They recommended that if a sustainable source of funding is not identified by July 2014, all libraries, except Medford, will close and that if no sustainable funding is generated by July 2015, then the Medford Library would also close.

“Although this situation is dire, County Commissioner Don Skundrick proposed a county-wide fee, which could help keep the library open.”

According to the newsletter, this fee would support the Jackson County jail in name and function, but Skundrick said his intention was that this fee would also free up money in the general fund to support the libraries and other services.

“The County is currently doing a survey on the jail fee, and there could be a ballot measure before the voters in November.”

This issue is of grave concern; at whatever stage in my life that I needed information, I relied on my library. Let us hope, for the sake of residents’ ability to engage in lifelong learning, that the community will support its libraries.

In the meantime, we can support our libraries by buying books during sales at library branches or from the Friends book shop that is located in the Medford library.

Book donations are welcome and contributions are tax-deductible. Friends of the Medford Library also welcomes volunteers to work in the book shop and process donations.

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