Toledo Library Opening and Budget Update

Daily Dose  |  05/28/2020 9:00 am

As organizations throughout Ohio start to reopen, Library customers are increasingly eager to return materials, check out new materials, and visit locations. Since the Library sees more than 3 million people and circulates more than 5.2 million materials through 20 locations annually, the Library wants to make sure all of the work is done with the highest standards of safety. That means training staff, retrofitting spaces to meet social distancing guidelines, ensuring there is the necessary PPE and policies in place to keep people safe, and developing new low- and no-contact service models.

The Library additionally needs to balance the safety challenges faced with reduced revenue. Approximately 40% of the Library’s funding comes from the state’s Public Library Fund which is part of Ohio’s general fund. This tax revenue is generated from economic activity which, as many of you know, is severely reduced due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This means the Library faces a projected $4.5 million shortfall for the remainder of 2020 and anticipated lasting revenue loss in 2021.

To be fiscally responsible, the Library started making budget adjustments in March — including $1.25 million of reductions in operational, maintenance, collections, and technology expenditures as well as retirement incentives. The rest of the budget deficit will be managed by aligning staff hours and pay to a reduced service hours schedule. The TLCPL Board of Trustees voted on Thursday, May 28 to adopt the following hours of operation effective June 8.

Although buildings will not be open to the public, phone service and curbside service will be available during these hours:

Monday and Tuesday:
11:00 a.m. - 7:30 p.m.
All locations

Wednesday - Friday:
9:30 a.m. - 6 p.m.
All locations

9:30 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Heatherdowns, Holland, Kent, King, Main Library, Maumee, Mott, Oregon, Sanger, Sylvania, Washington, Waterville, West Toledo

Sunday hours will return to Sanger Branch at a later date to-be-determined. 

This plan continues to provide equitable service across all of Toledo and Lucas County while also balancing the budget. The Board also approved new staffing models that call for 20% reduction in hours paid and scheduled for all exempt staff and other reductions, and a 25% reduction in pay and hours for members of the CWA and APLE labor unions. While these reductions are painful, they keep as many people part of the TLCPL team as possible and will allow the Library to quickly ramp-up services as the economic climate improves.

With both safety and revenue challenges, the Library plans a cautious reopening as follows:

Returning materials: We recommend that customers continue to reduce unnecessary travel and defer returning materials as no fines will be accrued. If people really want to return materials, drop boxes opened on May 26. Returned materials will be isolated for 72 hours, exceeding the Centers for Disease Control guidelines to reduce the risk of any virus contamination. 

Ask a Librarian: Our expert staff is ready to answer questions at 419.259.5200 or at Library staff can help with accounts, reading recommendations, accessing state benefits, downloading emedia, writing a resume and more.

Curbside service: Phase 1 begins June 1 at all locations with items already on the Library holds shelf or requested prior to our closure. Phase 2 for new requests will follow in mid-June as processes for safety and efficiency are fine-tuned.

Online programming: Virtual book groups, online storytimes, and more for kids, teens, and adults provide Library programs remotely. 

Buildings reopen: The leadership team will continue to assess state and local data to determine when it is safe to open to the public with new safety and social distancing protocols. 

The Library’s goal is to balance the need for services with keeping people — our community members and staff — as safe as possible. Closing the Library and reducing hours are always options of last resort, and we appreciate the community’s ongoing patience and support during this challenging time.