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Changes at library hinge on funding
Board may wait to alter some hours
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Forsyth County News
For Forsyth County Public Library board members, the question is no longer if but when.

In order to open a third library branch early next year, officials plan to spread out the system’s employees.

In addition, hours of operation for each location will decrease.

At its meeting Monday, the board plans to discuss whether to begin the new hours for the library system in December or January.

Chairwoman Mary Helen McGruder said much depends on funding from the county in its 2010 budget. As a result, the system may wait until January to implement new hours.

“If we get the same budget allocation from the county as we got in 2009, this whole new plan works,” McGruder said. “If we don’t get the same amount of money, our plan does not work.”

The library system’s overall budget in 2009 was about $4.1 million.

The county’s chief financial officer has predicted a $14 million deficit countywide for 2010.

“I think the reason to wait until January is that we have made all the plans and put everything in place to keep the library open seven days a week, but it all depends on the funding level from the county,” McGruder said.

To open the Hampton Park branch in north Forsyth, the board voted 4-0 last month to reduce about 12 systemwide hours during the week.

All three branches will close at 5:30 p.m. every weekday except one each week.

The plan keeps the Cumming headquarters branch open till 8:30 p.m. Tuesday. Sharon Forks branch would stay open that late on Monday, with the Hampton Park branch doing so on Wednesday.

About two hours will also be shaved on Saturdays at the two existing locations.

McGruder said it all comes down to budget numbers.

“We don’t have anywhere to cut other than personnel,” she said. “So if they cut our budget, we will have to make some drastic cuts unfortunately.”

The system currently has 68 full-time employees.