Botetourt libraries retain evening hours, cutting book, DVD, magazine purchases

Botetourt’s libraries have traded getting some new books, periodicals and DVDs in order to maintain some of the evening hours the Library Trustees thought were going to be cut because of budget challenges in the coming fiscal year that starts July 1.

The budget for the Blue Ridge, Buchanan, Fincastle and Eagle Rock libraries was trimmed about $8,000 when the Board of Supervisors finalized the 2010-11 operating budget in April. The idea was to cut evening hours at Blue Ridge Library and Fincastle  Library to save the money on salaries.

Instead, the Library Trustees thought it would be better to keep the libraries open during what had become regular evening hours on Mondays and Thursdays in Fincastle and Tuesdays and Wednesdays at Blue Ridge, Librarian Steve Vest said, and the Board of Supervisors agreed.

“It’s a worthwhile tradeoff,” Vest said. “People come to us to use the computers, look for jobs, do resumes, students do homework, they use the meeting rooms—all kinds of organizations (use the rooms) in the evenings.”

The $8,000 represents about 10 percent of the library’s materials budget, which is being cut from $80,000 this year to $72,000 in the coming fiscal year.

What it means, though, is there will be some books, magazines, DVDs and other materials the libraries won’t be able to buy, but Vest thinks patrons can help.

“We’d be thrilled if people wanted to give us money, or recent books that are in good condition. That would help,” he said. He noted new hardcover books can cost $25 and non-fiction books can cost even more.

The libraries would accept DVDs and recently read novels that are in good condition.

“We accept donations of materials all the time,” he added.

Friends of the Library are a big help, too. The Blue Ridge Friends of the Library just had a book sale and the donation from that group will be used to buy books; and the Fincastle Friends will be doing the same. A new Friends is just now forming for the new Eagle Rock Library.

“I suspect the Friends will do some supplemental things to help us get through the next year,” Vest added. “I just hope this is the low point.

“I’m just happy we can say we’re not going to lose any hours.”

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