Harford library protests failure to fund increased budget

The Harford County Public Library trustees told County Executive David Craig they are concerned about his rejection of their request for a fiscal year 2014 budget 2.67 percent higher than this year's.

At Thursday's meeting, board of trustees chairwoman Louise LeTendre said she sent Craig a letter in April saying the trustees are unhappy that the Jarrettsville library's remaining capital budget of $49,440 was removed and that the Churchville library was removed from the five-year capital program "without notice or discussion."

The library was also funded $100,000 for facility renovations and maintenance, instead of the $450,000 it requested, "to cover 12 locations with more than 1.95 million people walking through the doors," according to the letter.

The increase in the library's proposed budget was because of a 2.19 percent decrease in state aid, a reduced materials budget of 17 percent in fiscal year 2010 with no subsequent increases and projected healthcare insurance premiums of 12 percent.

"The board is requesting a reconsideration of the above budget items," LeTendre stated in the letter.

Havre de Grace

The library is reviewing the proposed design for the Havre de Grace library, for which responses were submitted to the county's procurement department by April 26.

The Havre de Grace library will also be closed July 6 for the city's Independence Day parade, the board said during a meeting Thursday.


Jack Swab, the student representative on the board, told the trustees he really appreciated the Ed2Go program, which offers online courses.

He said he took a course in how to build a WordPress website and it saved him a lot of money.

"The library actually offers more classes than [Harford Community College] does, for free," Swab said, noting he had previously considered paying $120 to take the class at the college.

"It's a great program, very easy to use," he said.

Library director Mary Hastler gently pointed out that the classes are not really "free" but are paid for by the library system.

Meeting times

The board held a long discussion about whether to stop meeting in July and August, which Hastler said would be in keeping with the Harford County Council's schedule and would help the library better align with its budget.

The trustees went back and forth on the idea and postponed a vote on it.

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