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Library for north remains on track
Budget situation may change hours
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Forsyth County News
Pending final budget numbers from Forsyth County, shortened hours will take effect in early January as the library system opens its third branch.

Library board members voted 4-0 on Monday night to approve the start date for the new schedule, which will reduce the hours existing branches are open.

The Cumming and Sharon Forks branches will operate at the same number of hours as the Hampton Park location in north Forsyth, which could open in January.

Under the plan, all three branches will close at 5:30 p.m. every weekday except one each week.

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

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

Chairwoman Mary Helen McGruder said the cuts in hours still “depend on what budget allocation we get.”

“We may not have these same hours,” she said. “All of our projections are based on receiving the same amount for 2010.”

The current plan is to spread the current 68 full-time employees among the three branches.

At Monday’s meeting, the board pondered the what-ifs of not getting its anticipated 2010 budget of $4.1 million, the same amount the system received in 2009.

With a projected budget deficit of $14 million countywide, the library board is keeping some options open.

“If we have a substantial cut in our budget, we’ll have to revisit everything,” said Jon McDaniel, library director.

Options could include a reduction in staff or circulation materials for 2010.

“Theoretically, we want to be able to survive the storm,” McDaniel said. “We would want the option with the least amount of impact on the strength of the library system.”

At Monday’s meeting, the board also voted 4-0 to approve a six-day systemwide closure to update software. The library’s Web site also will be down during this period, which is set for Dec. 10-16.