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The Park Rapids Area Library will have new hours of operation starting March 5. Mobile library access will be reduced to once a month. (Anna Erickson / Enterprise)

Park Rapids library hours reduced starting March 5

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The Park Rapids Area Library will be open four fewer hours each week beginning March 5.

Mobile library access will also be reduced, said Kitchigami Regional Library System Director Marian Ridge. Also, several employees have had their work hours reduced.

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Rural residents who use the mobile library services in Laporte, Nevis and Becida are the most affected. The mobile library will now stop once a month, on the first Thursday, effectively cutting service in half.

These service reductions are the result of the Hubbard County Board's decision to fund the library at lowest level allowed by the State of Minnesota for 2012, Ridge said. The county budgeted $190,693 toward the library in 2011 and $171,623 in 2012, she said.

Overall, the Kitchigami Regional Library System operating budget for 2012 is 3 percent lower from 2011.

"We understand the financial pressures that the county has to deal with," she said. "But library service has been important to Hubbard County residents and it has been hard for us to identify and implement these cuts. However, (Park Rapids) branch manager Jodi Schultz has done an excellent job at revising open hours that will have minimum impact on library users."

These service reductions were presented to the Hubbard County board as one of the options that would result from the 10 percent levy cut that the state permitted, Ridge said.

The Park Rapids Area Library has 9,241 card holders in 2011 and 135,794 items were borrowed during the year. It is the third busiest library in the system, behind Bemidji and Brainerd.

Starting Monday, March 5 library hours will be Monday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday from 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Thursday from 9:30 to 5:30 p.m., Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

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Anna Erickson
Anna Erickson is editor of the Wadena Pioneer Journal.
(218) 631-2561
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