JUNEAU, Alaska — Officials are considering deep funding cuts for Juneau’s library system that would affect youth and outreach programs to deal with a local government budget shortfall.
The proposals that could cut up to $146,000 from current funding of $255,450 came as a surprise to library supporters.
The youth and outreach programs served about 16,000 people last year and include early literacy programs, family nights, classroom visits and efforts to encourage teens to use the libraries, said Juneau Public Library Director Robert Barr.
The proposed cuts were “kind of shocking because that’s the bread and butter of the public library programming,” said Jonas Lamb, the president of the Friends of the Juneau Public Libraries.
One proposal would reduce spending by $55,000 — reducing early literacy programs from six days a week to two or three days a week. Family night events and classroom visits that librarians make to schools to promote reading would also be reduced, the Juneau Empire reported (http://bit.ly/2ru2YlL ).
The deeper proposed cut would slash spending $146,000. It would also eliminate outreach visits to the Adult Daycare program and to community events. Approval of the latter option would mean the loss of grants of between $20,000 and $50,000 annually.
The outreach program serves many of the library system’s 24,000 library card holders who cannot physically get to libraries — including people who have limited mobility or are jailed.
Members of the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly are expected to consider the spending reduction measures Monday and any amendments that may be proposed.