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Cuts shelve library programs

Donna Daniels
Staff Writer

The state libraries took a big hit in their collective budgets late last month. Colorado Gov. Bill Owens exercised his veto power and cut $4.6 million from state funds to libraries.

While less hard hit than other libraries, the Garfield County system will feel the pinch, said the system’s director, Jaci Spuhler.

It will lose between $12,200 and $12,600 for its EBSCO Host database, an online service that provides full-text magazine and newspaper articles as well as health news.

“I’ll have to find the money in our budget,” Spuhler said. But that is sure to have a ripple effect on other services.

Spuhler said the most likely items she could cut to hold on to EBSCO would be her new book budget and building maintenance fund.

Garfield County will also feel the effects of massive cuts to the Denver Public Library, which received state funding cuts of $2.3 million.

DPL, the state’s largest library, announced Monday it would eliminate the Colorado Resource Center, which sends books out on interlibrary loan to patrons who live outside Denver.

“DPL has been a tremendous resource for the entire state of Colorado,” Spuhler said. “We may have to go out of state (for books) and that will take longer and cost more.”

The resources center also provides access to DPL’s reference desk via a toll-free phone number. That number will be eliminated.

The service changes take effect July 1.

“It’s extremely disappointing,” Spuhler said of the funding cuts. She added that Owens justified the cuts “because they don’t affect state employees.”

Spuhler is also worried that her own shrinking budget won’t meet rising expenses. Although the county authorized the libraries to receive the full revenue from a one-quarter cent sales tax that it used to share with county public works, revenues fell 13 percent in the latest accounting period this spring, Spuhler said.

“And those are pre-fire revenues,” she said.

The Coal Seam Fire, which burned around and into parts of Glenwood Springs beginning June 8, stalled the peak tourist season in town, which could add to an already flat economy and further reduce sales tax revenues.

On top of that, postage, electricity fees and health insurance premiums have also increased.

“I’m very concerned about the budget,” Spuhler said.


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