Indianapolis Marion County Public Library hopes to restore hours

The Glendale branch is one of several that saw cuts in opening hours.

Indianapolis - After drastic cutbacks last year, the Indianapolis Marion County Public Library is hoping to restore hours at its ten most popular branches.

Glendale Library along north Keystone Avenue is one of them. It could open on Fridays again, a move patrons would love to see.

Jerome Anderson visits the branch often.

"I believe we should get it going again. It's helpful to the community. The library is something we need," said Anderson.

Plans to increase hours at the Glendale, Wayne, Pike, Lawrence, Nora, Irvington, Southport, Franklin and Central Libraries are included in the library's 2012 budget. So is restoring the amount of amount of money spent on new books and other materials.

Librarian Carol Segal says she's thrilled and notes the word is spreading.

"Today someone said they heard about it and asked when are you going to reopen on Fridays. I said not for a while and they wanted it to happen right away - it wasn't good enough," she said.

The hours changed last year. Faced with a big budget shortfall, the library board considered closing six branches, but given the huge public outcry, the board opted to cut hours instead.

CFO Becky Dixon said this year's budget calls for increasing the hours of service by 80 hours. Dixon said they hope to do that by moving debt service payments from the operating budget to the debt service fund and using some County Option Income Tax revenue.

A change in state law last session, prompted by library advocates, now allows COIT money to be allocated to the library system in Marion County. While Mayor Greg Ballard's budget plan includes giving the library system 1/10th of a percent of the COIT funds or roughly $150,000, the City-County Council still needs to sign off.  Patrons hope they do.

"Because we're cutting too many things of value to people, and many children don't have the money to buy books," said Norma Hoffman.

Aaron White, a student who spends three to four days a week at the library, said, "Friday is such a great day, you have big projects and you need to get stuff done. It makes sense to be open Friday."

The reaction is not surprising given a recent library survey. Library officials say they had 7,212 responses to a host of questions. In addition to that, there were 352 comments on the new hours with 330 of them negative.

Like many people, Deb Evans says she's adjusted to the new hours but still finds them inconvenient, especially since she still has young children.

"It'd be great to know I can come here and not have closed doors facing me, I can pick up hold items and find different materials for the family. As a mother of preschool children, I really appreciate coming at any time," she said.

The library board is set to vote on the budget Monday, August, 29th. It then goes to the City-County Council for final approval.