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Wayne libraries outlook improving

Molly Rodgers, executive director of the Wayne County Library Alliance, reports before the Wayne County Commissioners on May 22.
TRR photo by David Hulse

By David Hulse
June 4, 2014

HONESDALE, PA — From a solid sheet of red ink the previous year, things improved for Wayne County’s libraries in 2013, according to Wayne Library Alliance Executive Director Molly Rodgers. Rodgers and directors from five Wayne libraries appeared before the county commissioners on May 22 to present their annual report.

This year only the alliance itself and three of the county’s seven libraries, Hamlin, Hawley and Pleasant Mount, are running budget deficits. Library deficits averaged about $5,000 each.

The alliance, which Rodgers said had paid employees for the first time last year, led in red ink, with a $15,158 deficit against its $119,394 budget.

Not including the alliance, the libraries operated on about $800,000 last year, and three of them, Honesdale, Hawley and Hamlin, controlled about 80% of that figure.

Wayne libraries last year had 142,412 visitors, were open a total 247 hours weekly, offered 153 programs, and hosted 29,933 sessions on a total of 56 available computers.

Rodgers said that some libraries elsewhere now have gone to 100% e-resources, “no books. We’ll never do that as far as I’m concerned,” she said. “Our users want both.”

Commissioners’ Chair Brian Smith said he was proud of the alliance’s evolution. “It has evolved into something that touches the total of life… I’m proud as punch to support it.”

In other news, meeting as the board of elections, the commissioners rejected five of 13 provisional ballots in the recent primary and approved two as partial ballots.

Primary voter turnout was a historic low at 16% of some 28,000 eligible (19% Democrat, 15% Republican).

“There were no contested races. I think we’ll see a turnaround in the fall,” Smith said.