UPDATE: Starting August 9, Porter Branch resumed its Wednesday evening hours of 5:00-8:00 pm. Starting October 3, Fredericksburg Branch will resume its Tuesday hours of 9:00-8:00. Starting October 5, Salem Church Branch will resume its Thursday hours of 9:00-8:00.
The library has been forced to reduce hours at three branches due to underfunding by three of our jurisdictions. Hours will be cut starting in July at Porter Branch, Salem Church Branch, and Fredericksburg Branch. The Library Board approved these changes at their June 12 Board meeting:
- In Stafford County, Porter Branch will reduce Wednesday hours starting July 5, closing from 5:00 pm-8:00 pm, remaining open 9:00 am-5:00 pm.
- In Spotsylvania County, Salem Church Branch will reduce Thursday hours starting July 6, closing from 9:00 am-1:00 pm, remaining open 1:00 pm-8:00 pm.
- In Fredericksburg, Fredericksburg Branch will reduce Tuesday hours starting July 11, closing from 9:00 am-1:00 pm, remaining open 1:00 pm-8:00 pm.
We have informed each jurisdiction of the amount of funding that would need to be restored to return those hours, and if they restore funding at any point, we will quickly return those branches to their previous hours. We regret having to reduce hours and the impact this will have on customers depending on access to books and other materials, computers, printers, classes and events, and meeting rooms.
The priority for the coming fiscal year was increasing the books and materials budget and giving staff a 5% cost-of-living increase. Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, and Stafford are giving their employees 7-8% raises. These priorities could not have been achieved without reducing branch hours.
Due to rising costs, physical materials, such as books, have become more expensive, and demand for access to digital items; such as eBooks, eAudio, and streaming video, is at an all-time high, resulting in longer hold lists and waiting times for CRRL customers. Additionally, the library cannot retain staff if their salaries don't at least keep up with inflation. Despite record inflation over the past 5 years, the funding approved by the three localities for the coming fiscal year is less than what they approved to fund in FY20.
Our Friends of the Library group lists a number of ways members of the public can speak up on this issue.