VIDEO: Library use increases despite cuts in hours

Library use up despite cuts in hours

Private funds help maintain library services in ...

East Naples

8787 Tamiami Trail East

Estates

1266 Golden Gate Blvd., W.

Everglades City

102 Copeland Ave., N.

Golden Gate

2432 Lucerne Road

Immokalee

417 N. First St.

Marco Island

210 S. Heathwood Drive

Naples Regional

650 Central Ave.

South Regional

8065 Lely Cultural Pkwy

Vanderbilt Beach

788 Vanderbilt Beach Rd.

It’s a perfect case of reading between the lines.

The economy may be causing some cuts at the Collier County Public Library but it hasn’t stopped the people from using it.

Circulation has increased for the past three years, and nearly 200,000 people have library cards. There are just less hours to visit.

“Nobody likes cuts in services,” said library patron Ken King. “I’m unemployed myself, so I can understand trying to save a dollar where you can.”

The latest reduction in hours affects the Vanderbilt Beach branch. Effective this month, it will be closed on Fridays.

“The priority is to keep branches open and cut hours first,” said Camden Smith, a public information officer for Collier County. “By doing that we can spread our thin crowd of staff around to the number of buildings we’ve got.”

The Friday closures were delayed at the Vanderbilt branch for nearly a year after the North Naples Community Alliance and residents of Pelican Bay donated $39,941 to keep it open.

All of the branches have had to trim their hours in the last couple of years, and there is no guarantee there won’t be future reductions, as the county is in a hiring freeze.

“We do have a couple of people retiring this year so there are going to be some jobs we’re not filling,” said Smith. “It could be possible that there would be further reductions.”

What people may not know is many library services have been spared from cuts because of the financial help from the Friends of the Library of Collier County, Inc.

“You could not have the Collier County Public Library system the way you have it without your Friends of the Library,” said Smith.

Last year, the non-profit organization contributed more than $500,000 to the library system.

“When the library has a need the Friends are there,” said Linda Fasulo, executive director of the Friends of the Library. “When they ran out of money to buy office supplies, we stepped up to the plate.”

The Friends of the Library has funded everything from capital projects to public programs, and its support of the library has stood strong through the years since the library was first established in 1957.

“I will have people stop me and say what an amazing library system this is, how wonderful it is, all the things that are here, all the things that are offered,” said Fasulo. “The county plays a large part in that in funding the library, but the Friends are there as backup.”

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