- Associated Press - Friday, December 25, 2015

BETHEL, Alaska (AP) - The Kuskokwim Consortium Library in Bethel is preparing to pare down its staff and services as the state budget is likely to shrink.

The whole University of Alaska system, which owns the library, is preparing to take a financial hit after Gov. Bill Walker cut about 5 percent from the university’s general fund in his proposed budget, according to KYUK-AM (https://bit.ly/1U8Gv2u).

Library Director Cheri Boisvert Janz says the Kuskokwim University Campus has proposed a budget that cuts about 40 percent of the library’s funding, mainly because the space serves more as a public resource than a university resource.

“There aren’t that many students here, so most of the people who come in here are from the general public,” Janz said. “Previously the school had paid the bulk of the money toward the library, and with the budget cuts, they really can’t anymore. There’s just not money to subsidize the public library.”

The Kuskokwim University Campus declined to answer questions about proposed budget cuts

Janz says the staff will likely drop from three to two full-time positions and doors will be open for fewer hours.

“It will be just not as high a level of customer service as we would like and I’m sure as the patrons will like, too,” Janz said.

In order to keep the library full, Janz said she’ll be asking the City Council for increased funding and also looking for other financial resources like grants and creating a Friends of the Library organization. Historically the city has covered about 20 percent of the library’s costs.

The new budget would take effect July 1, 2016.

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Information from: KYUK-AM, https://www.kyuk.org


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