County budget shortfall lands on libraries
The South Lake Tahoe library will close its doors for a week at the end of May as part of El Dorado County’s effort to end the fiscal year with a balanced budget.
“It’s a shame for the public of course,” said Jeanne Amos, director of the six public libraries in the county. “It’s nice to think you can walk to the public library door and they are going to be unlocked and go in.”
The shutdown is necessary because the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors earlier this year ordered temporary layoffs for more than 400 employees, which includes library staff.
The layoffs will save the county about $1.2 million for its current budget, which expires June 30. The layoffs will also help protect county reserve funds so they can be rolled over to the next budget year, for which a $12.5 million deficit is anticipated, said Laura Gill, chief administrative officer for the county.
Amos said she didn’t know how much money the county would save by shutting down the South Lake Tahoe library.
“It’s not going to be a great deal of money,” she said. “But there will be an impact countywide. Pennies will become dollars.”
The South Lake Tahoe Branch of the El Dorado County Library is normally open Tuesday to Saturday. The Saturday to Saturday closing, May 29 through June 5, will mean: no work for up to seven employees; books can only be returned through the 24-hour outside book drop; and preschool storytime will end on May 28 instead of June 4.
The county’s library at Cameron Park will shut down the same week as the South Lake Tahoe library. The Placerville branch completed its required layoffs when the library was carpeted over a three-week period.
The library at Georgetown will be shut down on Fridays during the month of May. Branches at Pollock Pines and Oak Ridge High School will not be affected by the required layoffs.
Amos said the county last had to endure library closures because of a budget squeeze in the early 1990s.
“It was the same reason – budget cuts,” she said. “It happens every time the state has a budget crunch. They need money and they take it from local government. We keep thinking they can’t take more, but they come back and take more.”
– Gregory Crofton can be reached at (530) 542-8045 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org