Seattle's budget cuts will likely shutter the city's libraries for a week this summer [see story this page], and Seattle isn't alone; dire times are falling on stacks around the state.
That's the tidings from a survey released Monday by the Washington State Library, which queried municipal and regional lenders from Spokane to Ocean Shores and found staff cutbacks, shorter hours, and considerable uncertainty about the future.
Among the tales of woe, the Castle Rock Municipal Library in southwest Washington faces closure after the 2,150-person city cut the library's pursestrings last year, and a funding levy failed at the polls. The levy "failed by four votes -- no budget for 2009!" wrote Library Director Vicky Selander in her response to the state. It's a "100 percent reduction in total operating expenses. We are operating on the generous donations of our citizens."
"This survey confirms what many have feared -- that many libraries are facing difficult budget situations due to the bad economy," Washington state Librarian Jan Walsh noted in a press release. "What makes this so painfully ironic is that more people are using libraries nowadays than before, yet several libraries are in danger of seeing cuts in hours, services or staff."