PARIS – The Paris Public Library is reducing its hours by six after a requested budget increase was rejected by the town.

The library will be open from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays; 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays; and 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays. The hours go into effect July 1.

Librarian Mike Dignan said the move reverses an expansion of library hours undertaken two to three years ago. He said staff hours will also be reduced, with one part-time position being eliminated later in the year.

“We’re trying to spread them out, but unfortunately there’s one position that’s going to take the brunt of the cut,” Dignan said.

The part-time position, which handles technical service work in the library’s circulation, is being reduced from 21 hours to 13 hours before it is cut Nov. 1.

The library had requested that its fiscal 2008 budget of $145,698 be increased by $10,641 to cover heating costs. The request was denied by the Budget Committee, and the fiscal 2009 appropriation for the library was the same as 2008.

The building is heated by two furnaces that use No. 2 heating oil. Dignan said the heating bill doubled from $3,000 to $6,000 this year.

Dignan said the library is a separate nonprofit entity, but works closely with the town. Although Dignan appealed to the Budget Committee for the increase earlier this year, he said the library’s trustees decided not to take the case to the town meeting.

“All the departments in town had to make sacrifices this year, and so did we,” he said.

Paris reduced its budget by $60,332, which included the elimination of part-time jobs in the town office and highway department, as well as three reserve officer positions.

Dignan said the library has received some donations, but would require another $2,000 to sustain the position that is to be cut. He said he has received offers from some people to volunteer, and will try to fill any possible gaps in staffing that way.

The Hamlin Memorial Library, a smaller facility in the former jail on Paris Hill, was also denied a $350 increase to its $6,250 appropriation from the town.

Dave Stanley, treasurer for that library, said the requested increase was to cover increasing costs in the library’s line items.

Stanley said that since the library is closed during the winter, its fuel costs are not a major issue.

“Major support does come from the town of Paris, but we have some other resources,” Stanley said.

He said the main source of fundraising for the library is the Founder’s Day celebration, which takes place on the third Saturday of every July at the common on top of Paris Hill. He said the library is working to increase publicity for the event, and will hold a second fundraiser if necessary.

“If we have good weather this year, I think we can make up the shortfall,” said Stanley.


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