Letter: Hunter, Will the HSS library close?
May 31, 2016
Will the HSS library close?
This letter is in response to the recent article "Q & A With the GC Library District". Kim Jensen and Stephanie Ralph, in responding to the question "Will the HSS library close?" state that the Library District Board hasn't voted on this yet. What they don't mention is that in the financial plan presented at the Library District Board meeting on May 17 every option presented started with closing the Hot Sulphur branch. There was not one option presented that did not include this. Other options included closing the HSS branch plus turning two other smaller branches into "kiosk" branches with drastically limited services. No option mentioned trimming hours or services at the Granby or Fraser branches.
When the county passed the ballot measure in 1994 establishing the Grand County Library District the citizens voting in favor of it expected improved services over what was in existence at the time. Over the years, services were provided and expanded to include five branch libraries. In recent years, the tax revenues have not been enough to cover both the expanded services and debt on the newer buildings. A decision to reduce the 2017 budget by $100,000, as discussed at the May 17 meeting, will clearly have a huge impact on the district no matter where the cuts are made. To be fair to the citizens who supported creating a special district, in a time of reduced funding, the only way to make cuts is across the board including all library branches and the administrative office. One branch should not be singled out.
The inevitable reduction in services merits community input beyond the individual members of the Board of Trustees. I call on the Library District to have public meetings to both inform and listen. It isn't enough to say that the Board meetings are open to the public. (The next Board meeting will be at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 21 at the Kremmling Library). As far as the public knew, the budget, the branches, the hours open were all set until 2018. How was anyone to know that cuts of this magnitude were on the horizon? It is irresponsible to the citizens of Grand County to make changes of this size without informing the public and without public input.
Hot Sulphur Springs