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Pasco libraries plan to scale back hours

County libraries across Pasco are about to lose an hour of operation, closing at 8 p.m. instead of 9.

Taken together, the libraries will lose 17 hours a week. Each library will lose two to four hours a week.

The reductions will be put before the County Commission for a decision Tuesday. If approved, the cutbacks will go into effect May 5. Libraries would shut at 8 p.m. instead of 9 on the following days:

• Hudson Regional Library, Monday through Thursday.

• Centennial Park Branch Library in Holiday, Monday and Tuesday.

• Hugh Embry Branch Library in Dade City, Monday and Tuesday.

• Land O'Lakes Branch Library, Monday through Wednesday.

• New River Branch Library in Zephyrhills, Monday and Thursday.

• Regency Park Branch Library in New Port Richey, Monday and Tuesday.

• South Holiday Branch Library, Wednesday and Thursday.

Stephen Kershner, assistant libraries director, said patron counts are lowest from 8 to 9 p.m. Traffic tends to pick up after school through 6 p.m., tails off, then picks up at 7 p.m., he said.

"Eight to 9 p.m. does tail off," Kershner said. "That's not to say every night, but generally by the time we close, there are two to seven people."

The reductions are offset by Internet availability, he said.

"One of the things we would like to emphasize is that we are available 24/7, 365 days a year, through our Web site, www.pasco

libraries.org, where you can get to our databases," Kershner said.

The cutback would save the library system $53,000 annually.

The system is trying to cut about $1-million out of its $7-million budget for the fiscal year starting in October.

Possible cuts still under discussion include 5 1/2 staff positions and one of its interlibrary loan systems.

A $13,000 summer reading program was on the chopping block, but has been saved this year by a donation from the Friends of Libraries USA group, Kershner said.

Chuin-Wei Yap can be reached at cyap@sptimes.com or (813) 909-4613.

Pasco libraries plan to scale back hours 04/25/08 [Last modified: Friday, April 25, 2008 8:39pm]
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