Multnomah County libraries to close Mondays
PORTLAND, Ore. — Beginning July 1, the Multnomah County's libraries will be closed on Mondays and will have reduced hours.Even though Multnomah County voters overwhelmingly approved a renewal of the library levy at its current rate this past Tuesday, officials say the vote merely means "stable library funding for the next three years without increasing taxes.""Voter approval of the local option levy Measure 26-125 means the present property tax collection rate of $.89 per thousand remains the same," according to a statement prepared by Multnomah County Communications Director David Austin. "But since the county and the state are seeing lower property tax revenues, that means — like all county departments — the library has to make some cuts in service."County Chair Jeff Cogen’s proposed budget contains $10 million in one-time-only money to minimize those cuts. However, even that money "isn’t enough to stave off cuts in these tough economic times," Austin writes. As such, he said a reduction of hours is needed.Property tax funding from the levy provides $32.6 million, the majority of the library’s operating budget. A General Fund cash transfer from Multnomah County provides $14.9 million; the library fund balance provides $4.1 million; and library-generated revenues such as overdue fines; interest earnings; and user charges for services provided to library patrons amount to $3.1 million of the total funding. The library also will use a portion of one-time-only General Fund support provided by the Board of County Commissioners for the remaining $3.4 million in operating funds.“Our libraries are highly used and valued by the community we serve,” said Vailey Oehlke, director of Libraries, in a prepared statement. “In the coming year, we will continue to provide world-class customer service, respond to changing needs in our community and ensure that our community continues to experience the outstanding library it expects and deserves.”The Multnomah County Library is the oldest public library west of the Mississippi, according to county records dating back to 1864. Today, Central Library and 18 neighborhood libraries house two million books and other library materials as Oregon's largest public library. This library system consistently ranks as one of the busiest libraries in the nation, and has been awarded the highest possible rating by the Library Journal. Multnomah County residents reportedly use libraries at a higher rate than almost anywhere else in the United States. The Multnomah County Library serves nearly one-fifth of the state's population, with a wide variety of programs and services. Over 35,000 people use the library each day, either online or in person. The new hours take effect on July 1 and are as follows:Central and Neighborhood libraries Sunday Noon - 5 p.m. Monday Closed Tuesday 11 a.m. - 8 p.m. Wednesday 11 a.m. - 8 p.m. Thursday 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.Friday 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.Saturday 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.Regional libraries (Gresham, Hillsdale, Hollywood, Midland) Sunday Noon - 5 p.m.Monday ClosedTuesday 11 a.m. - 8 p.m.Wednesday. 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.Thursday 11 a.m. - 8 p.m.Friday 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.Saturday 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.Related resources:To read more about Multnomah County Library, visit www.multcolib.org.See more on this story in Thursday's edition of the Portland Tribune, available online and on newsstands.
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May 23, 2012
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