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Cumberland Library Board Votes to Reduce Hours, not Branches

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FAYETTEVILLE — The Cumberland County Library System lost a half million dollars in the county budget passed last week. As a result, the libraries are about to undergo some major changes.

Thursday morning, the library board had to decide between closing two branches or reducing hours countywide.

The choice is to reduce hours at all seven county libraries. Some libraries will now open later, others will stay closed on Sunday.

"It is the better of the two sorry choices our commissioners have given us," says library director Jerry Thrasher.

The library board says there was no other way to make up a half million dollar decrease in their upcoming budget.

"Cutting the hours across the board is spreading the pain across all locations," says Thrasher.

County commissioners had mentioned the library may be able to find additional funds from the county contingency fund. But the library cannot apply for 90 days, and it is doubtful they would get the half million dollars they need to retain current service.

"We need to go a couple months of the year and see how all the departments deal with the cuts," says county finance director Amy Cannon.

The cuts will affect 17 percent of library programming countywide. For example, 57 programs scheduled for July will now be canceled.