Cutbacks Hit Frazier Park Library

“Frazier Park Library hours will be reduced from five days to two days weekly effective August 1,” reports Diane Duquette, Kern County Library Director.

The library’s proposed new hours will be Tuesdays 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Mountain Community branch is not alone in suffering major impacts to hours and staffing as a result of county budget cuts. Twenty-five of Kern County’s 27 libraries throughout Bakersfield and the rural areas of the county are facing a 41 percent cut in hours. A 31 percent reduction in library staffing countywide is mandated by a $2 million loss to the library system’s budget.

“It’s a difficult situation with so many competing interests in a down economy,” Duquette added. She said that in 1987 the Kern County Library system offered about 68,000 hours of service to the public. The current service hours are being cut from 45,000 to about 27,000—”an historic low,” Duquette said. She added that the book acquisition budget in Kern County is about $100,000, compared with Las Vegas-Clark County (with comparable population) which has a $12 million book budget.

Public Hearings July 20-22

Final budget hearings are scheduled for Monday July 20 at 7 p.m. for public comment. Some public input will also be accepted Tuesday and Wednesday July 21-22 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. during hearings with department heads at the CountyAdministrative Center (1115 Truxtun Ave.) in Bakersfield. These hearings will help the Board of Supervisors determine if any changes need to be made to the proposed cuts to the county’s library system.

This is part of the July 10, 2009 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.

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