TWINSBURG — Due to anticipated budget shortfalls from the pandemic, the Twinsburg Public Library is planning a series of cost-cutting measures, including furloughing some of its employees, reducing hours and implementing pay cuts for administrators. 

The library’s board met April 29 and voted to ask that the library director and fiscal officer make cuts to the budget. Minutes will be available on the Library website once they have been approved at the next board meeting on May 20.

"In order to deal with the anticipated loss of 30 percent of revenue from the Public Library Fund, the Board tasked Library Director Laura Leonard and Fiscal Officer Allison Chance with making the necessary adjustments to ensure that the ending 2020 general fund balance does not fall below $450,000," library representatives stated in a May 1 media release. "In order to make this happen, cuts to expenditures, including furloughs of employees, the reduction of hours, and the reduction in administrative salaries will have to take place. In addition, capital and contractual services expenses will be reduced. "

The media release also stated that the Twinsburg Public Library will apply to SharedWork Ohio, which would allow staff to receive unemployment benefits even as they work at reduced hours if accepted.

The library hopes to avoid cutting materials expenditures.

"The team at the Twinsburg Public Library wants to be able to help job seekers, students seeking Internet access to complete their school and college work, and patrons who are looking for help finding reliable and accurate information," stated the media release.

The library is primarily funded with revenues from the state’s Public Library Fund and from a 2-mill real property levy which together add up to about $2.9 million annually, or 85% of the library’s total general fund budget of around $3.42 million. 

The Ohio Library Council told libraries to expect a 20% decline in revenue from the Public Library Fund, according to information sent by the Twinsburg Public Library. The Public Library Fund April distribution to Summit County libraries reflected an 11% decrease from estimates, but this month is expected to provide a more realistic picture of the impact.

Phase-in plan for services

The library also announced its scheduled plan for easing back into services. Phases are subject to change based on future recommendations from the Ohio Department of Health. The Twinsburg Public Library will continue the online reference and programming that has been in place.

Phase 1 is scheduled to start May 8, when the Book/AV Returns will open. Patrons are asked to return only Twinsburg Public Library materials at this time. The drive-up window will not be open.

When given the go-ahead, the library will implement Phase 2 and provide curbside pickup of materials. Further details on curbside pickup will be available via the library’s webpage.

The library will be open to the public on a date to be determined in Phase 3. Hours will be 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, and noon to 8 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The hour from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Wednesdays will be set aside for seniors and other vulnerable adults.

The following restrictions will be in place in order to meet health department guidelines:

Both staff and visitors must wear face coverings that cover the nose and mouth.

Only adults 18 and up will be allowed in the building at this time to help with social distancing.

Visits must be limited to browsing and checking out materials for one hour.

One-hour computer use will be available. Patrons must schedule this online via the library’s webpage or by calling 330-425-4268, ext. 2.

There will be a limited number of people allowed in the building at one time.

There will be no meeting room use, in-person programs, or all-day stays.

In the next phase, those age 13 through 17 will be allowed to visit the library on their own for an hour as long as they follow social distancing guidelines.

As the state loosens restrictions, additional services will be added.

Staff is working on ways to help small and school-age children "social distance."

The library has been treated with Enviroshield, a spray disinfection service that eliminates 99.9% of bacteria and viruses on exposed surfaces. It continues to protect surfaces and eliminate germs for up to six months. 

Patrons will be encouraged to use the library’s self-checkout stations. Disinfectant wipes are available at every counter and computer station.

Staff will be using gloves to handle returned materials, and items will be in "quarantine" before they go back to the shelves for circulation.

Acrylic guards between staff and visitors are in place.

Social distance markers are in place.