Glenwood library opens late after cuts
Members of the public waited in the lobby of the Glenwood Springs Library for more than an hour on Thursday as the branch failed to open on time following the recent budget cuts to the Garfield County Libraries.
The Garfield County Library District, hit by declining revenue because of a slump in natural gas drilling in the county, earlier this month laid off eight employees and trimmed hours. The Glenwood library is supposed to open at 10 a.m. Monday thru Saturday and failed to do so on Thursday. The library was open by 11:15.
“The delayed opening was due to a scheduling mix-up,” said Garfield County Library District brand manager Emily Hisel. “We were informed of the delay at 10:40 and open by 11:15. We apologize for any inconvenience that this caused.
“We’re in a unique situation where we have lower staffing levels, which makes it harder when unexpected instances like this occur,” Hisel added.
Among the positions that are unfilled is the Glenwood Springs branch manager after librarian Sue Schnitzer left earlier this month in preparation for taking a library job in Memphis, Tennessee.
“I’m saddened and disappointed that the deep staff cuts resulted in the library not being able to open this morning,” Schnitzer told the Post Independent. “I was running errands downtown and ran into a family with four children, some teens, and several grownups who had shown up and waited to no avail.
“I hope the library board and director rethink the current staffing ratios and possibly consider cutting hours to better match the staffing level that is necessary to meet the 2017 budget figure,” said Schnitzer, whose last day at the library was Dec. 16.
Garfield County Libraries reduced hours on all six of its branches based on demand at each location. The new hours for each branch are outlined on the library district’s website, at http://www.gcpld.org.
The cuts were announced as a result of a 30 percent, or $1.2 million, drop in operating budget for the the library district for 2016 after deceases in oil and gas activity in Garfield County caused property revenue tax to drop by around 45 percent.
The district’s board of trustees is next scheduled to meet in Glenwood Springs on Jan. 5, when some of the next steps regarding staffing and filling the open branch manger positions will be discussed.