09/20/07 — Library board asks commissioners to consider expanding Wayne system

View Archive

Library board asks commissioners to consider expanding Wayne system

By Nick Hiltunen
Published in News on September 20, 2007 2:08 PM

The Wayne County Public Library Board wants bigger libraries and the money needed to run them.

Library Trustees Board Chairman Cathy Moran presented a long-range plan to county commissioners on Tuesday, with hopes that they will find a way to pay for it.

The library board asked for about $9.4 million to improve the main library branch in Goldsboro and consolidate other libraries in the northern and southern ends of the county.

The plan prepared by Wayne County Public Library Executive Director Jane Rustin says that additional operating costs for those libraries would come out to $753,000 per year.

In the northern end of the county, the plan asks to replace existing branches in Fremont and Pikeville with a larger library facility to serve residents there, Rustin said.

A similar approach would be taken in the southern end of the county, replacing Mount Olive and Seven Springs branches with a single facility, the plan shows.

Also included is a proposed expansion of the library headquarters on Ash Street in Goldsboro.

Moran said the plan calls for increasing total library square footage from 30,000 square feet to nearly 73,800 square feet, a 146 percent increase.

But Moran and Rustin said such an increase would only move the system closer to a "minimum standard" -- despite having the 27th largest service population among comparable libraries, Wayne County ranks 55th in total operating funds, the plan says.

"We think this would be a good investment because the library serves the population of the entire county," Moran said.

The plan also aims to boost collections and overall staffing of the facilities, bringing the library's volumes to 210,360 from 119,360, Moran said.

Full-time employees for the libraries would increase to about 47 under the plan, from the current approximate 35, Rustin's plan shows.

But although those figures increase as well, they are below "minimum standards" set for libraries serving populations of Wayne County's size, she said.

The Wayne system is one of the few in the state running independently, as a non-profit institution, Rustin told commissioners.

Wayne County supplies most of the system's budget however, providing $884,000 to the libraries. The city of Goldsboro contributes another $174,000 to the system's current $1.4 million annual operating cost.

State funding was about $182,000 in the last fiscal year, according to the plan.