HASSO HERING

A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

In budget news, Carnegie library stays ‘open’

Written May 5th, 2021 by Hasso Hering

The downtown Carnegie library on Wednesday evening.

Albany’s proposed city budget for the next two years has a bit of encouraging news, as far as I’m concerned. It does NOT call for or require the closing of the Carnegie library downtown.

The city budget committee has been reviewing the financial plan for 2021-23. No doubt there are important and maybe even interesting nuggets in the 592 pages, but I didn’t seek them out.

I did look up the section on the public library and asked Eric Ikenouye, the library director, about it.

“We plan to keep the Carnegie open,” he replied. “As it states in the budget: The nearly 10 percent cut to staffing levels will result in a reduction of library hours at both locations for the upcoming biennium.”

The staffing cut he refers to reduces jobs at the library from just over 21 FTE (full-time equivalent) to 19.3.

When and if the libraries — either the main branch or the Carnegie — return to being “open” in the traditional sense is unknown. They haven’t had their regular open hours for more than a year.

But since April 1, they have been open to people making appointments to use the computers, pick up items they’ve reserved, or browse the collections. The browsing appointments can take up to 20 minutes at a time. That doesn’t allow for a lot of indecisive wandering though the shelves looking for intriguing titles, but it’s better than nothing.

You can make appointments online on the library’s website. It’s so easy even I could do it. Or you can call them on the phone. (hh)

How to make an appointment: The sign on the door explains how to go about it.

 





8 responses to “In budget news, Carnegie library stays ‘open’”

  1. Patricia Eich says:

    One service I have used at the main library for several months is curbside pickup. Just log-in to your account and place the books you want on hold. When you recieve notification the books are ready, pickup can be scheduled. There is an hour window of time. I have been very appreciative of this option.

    • Linda says:

      I agree, it is a wonderful service and has kept me sane! I also pick up my holds at Farmers Market when that option is available.

  2. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    Does the city’s projection for 2029-31 still show an $88 million shortage?

    https://hh-today.com/budget-trouble-albany-gets-harsh-projections/

    Will today’s band aid stop tomorrow’s gaping wound?

    Don’t expect a future council to refer any funding solution to the voters. As one current councilor put it, letting voters decide anything is a “problem.”

    This means a future council will probably have to stop delaying the inevitable and close both libraries (Carnegie & Main).

    Also, it means a future council will probably IMPOSE “fee” increases by an astronomical amount.

    Knowing there is a problem is half of the solution. Is this council capable of putting Albany on a path to solve the other half?

    • Bob Woods says:

      So opines the man that lives in North Carolina.

      Been to an Albany Library lately Gordon?

  3. Albany YIMBY says:

    Good, this is a service for downtown residents that should be open regardless. The solution is not to close services in downtown but to bring more residents here that would revitalize the area.

    I expect that some of the same people that wouldn’t like the library to close also opposed to the development at 4th & Calapooia.

    You guys will also complain when Takena or Central Elementary Schools close, or when new businesses do not last more than 6 months in downtown.

    • Gordon L. Shadle says:

      Open regardless? Let’s be real.

      Libraries are essential until they are not.

      During pandemics they are a threat to public health.

      During budget crunches they are the top of the cut list.

      Look at Albany’s budget projections for the next 10 years. Under future budgets the two libraries can’t be sustained.

      Either they evolve into something they are not today, or they die.

      • Albany YIMBY says:

        That would be awesome to attract young families to live in Albany. What a positive message to send…

        “Come here to live in lovely Albany, OR, we don’t even have a library, but hey, we have a Costco!! And that’s the American way!!

  4. Zayne Underwood says:

    I would be very curious to know what percentage of the population uses services from the public library. IE, nature visit frequency of visitation etc.
    Then with that data you can extrapolate whether or not the costs are justified for the public…. Personally I don’t use the public library I do have a library card but I think I’ve used it three times in 31 years….

 

 
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