Library cuts hours to save money

While hours will be cut at the Tracy Branch Library, programs like story time will continue. Press file photo

A lack of money has forced the Tracy Branch Library to trim 11 hours per week off its operating schedule, starting July 1.

Right now, the library is open 53 hours a week. Tracy officials at the June 2 City Council meeting OK’d a proposal to cut those hours to 42 per week, including closing every Friday. The cut in hours passed the City Council with no discussion.

The reductions are in line with Stockton’s furlough days, since Stockton pays library employees. Other San Joaquin County libraries are also seeing cutbacks.

San Joaquin County now pays for operations during 35 of the 53 hours the Tracy library is open, while Tracy pays for 17 extra hours and the remaining hour is paid for by Stockton’s library budget.

The report said Tracy pays about $72,000 per year for those 17 hours not covered by the county and Stockton. But starting July 1, Tracy will save about $21,176 by cutting five of the 17 hours it pays for.

“We worked very hard to try to get the city of Stockton to understand that we wanted to minimize the impact to our citizens in choosing the new hours and any close days,” said Rod Buchanan, Tracy’s director of parks and community services.

Tracy’s library will still host activities such as story times for kids and the Summer Reading Club, supervising librarian Kathleen Buffleben said.

Buffleben noted that the library keeps track of how many people come in each day and listened to patrons who suggested the best hours to stay open.

“We tried to make the best schedule that we could to meet all those needs,” she said.

While Tracy’s City Council approved the new hours, Buffleben said the final decision would be up to the Stockton City Council, scheduled Tuesday to vote on the matter. Results from that meeting were not available as of press time.

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