Library district woes sparks emotional talk | SkyHiNews.com

Library district woes sparks emotional talk

Shawn Davis, of Hot Sulphur Springs speaks at the meeting between the BOCC and the Grand County Library District on Wednesday, July 13.
Travis Poulin / Sky-Hi News |

The Grand County Library District met with the BOCC in front of an emotional crowd of about 45 citizens Wednesday, July 13. The topic: the fate of the Hot Sulphur Springs Library. The library district defended their case to close the library, while citizens and the BOCC discussed alternative options to the necessary budget cuts.

Possible solutions from citizens and BOCC

Make cuts across the whole board, not just the Hot Sulphur Library.

Many citizens feel that cuts must be made from the top of the district to settle the financial problems.

The library is rented for only $1 per year, and is only open 18 hours a week, therefore there must be another option, and there is no way closing the library will save $65,000 a year.

The cost of operating the library admin building is something that could be cut. They can look at selling or renting out the building.

The County Commissioners offered to consider helping the library with Internet, phone, and electricity costs as a solution to keeping it open. “Before you make this vote, please consider asking us for our help,” said Commissioner Kris Manguso.

The commissioners addressed the fact that a few library district board members had missed several meetings in the past year, presenting a question of if this allowed enough legitimate conversation about other options than closing the library when board members were not present.

The library district’s defense

Library district executive director Stephanie Ralph pointed out that they are facing tough challenges right now, and they “must have the courage to look at the big picture,” when addressing how to manage the budget.

When questioned if closing the library will actually save $65,000, the library district guaranteed that their next budget will be $65,000 less for the library, $20,000 less for centralized staff reductions, and $20,000 less in facilities cuts.

Why not cuts across the board? The library said they tried this is 2013-2014 and it will not be enough to meet the $100,000 they must cut.

Why not sell or rent the admin building? The district has looked into this, and even posted the building for rent on Craigslist. The market is simply not there right now to sell the building, but they are seeking a way to progress this idea.

Another special meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on July 14 at the Hot Sulphur Springs Town Hall and the library district will discuss the future of the library.


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