The Fallston Branch of the Harford County Public Library may close by the end of the month in a cost-saving manuever deemed necessary after the County Executive and County Council mandated an additional 5% cut from each departmental budget.
The Library Board of Trustees will meet Thursday to determine the fate of the Fallston Branch, which was picked for closure based on its old age, poor location, and apparent lack of use, after the library system learned it would have to make another $800,000 in unanticipated budget cuts.
In an email sent to all library staff Thursday evening, library director Audra Caplan wrote:
The Harford County Public Library (HCPL) Board of Trustees, in response to an unanticipated, additional $800,000, or 5% budget cut from the County Council on Friday May 29, will vote on the necessity of closing the Fallston Branch at the June 18th Board Meeting. The branch closure is necessary in order to balance HCPL’s FY 2010 operating budget.
The Executive Committee and Senior Staff’s decision to recommend closing the Fallston Branch was made after evaluating every branch in the system and weighing a number of factors, including which communities would be most adversely impacted by a branch’s closing and have the most difficulty replacing these services. Specific issues factored into closing Fallston include:
– Age of Building
– Branch is not easily accessible on foot
– Low walk-in traffic
– Cost savings
– Poor location and dangerous vehicle access in and out of the property
– Close proximity to newest branches, Bel Air (7 miles), Jarrettsville (8
miles) and Abingdon (9miles),
– Low percentage of computer usage compared to other branch locations
The Board of Trustees and the Library Administration understand that all of Harford County Public Library branches are integral parts of their communities. The library system has 200,059 registered borrowers that use the services of branches across the county. The choice to close the Fallston Branch was difficult but necessary.
The HCPL Board of Trustees will hold a Public Hearing on the Fallston Branch closing before the Board meeting at 6:00 pm on June 18, 2009 at the Bel Air Branch, 3rd floor meeting room.
An official release can be found on the Fallston Branch web site:
The Harford County Public Library Board of Trustees will hold a Public Hearing to discuss the closure of the Fallston Branch on Thursday, June 18, 2009, 6 p.m., at the Bel Air Branch. The Board will hold their regular meeting at 6:30 pm., following the Public Hearing. The Bel Air Branch is located at 100 East Pennsylvania Avenue.
For more information about the Public Hearing or the Board meeting, call 410-273-5600.
Here’s some history on the Fallston Branch:
The Fallston Branch held its grand opening celebration in March of 1985. Located right on busy Rt. 152, the library is a destination for many in the surrounding areas. The Fallston Branch has a very active Friends group, the second oldest in the county. They host highly successful book sales twice a year, in April and over Thanksgiving weekend. The Fallston Friends also sponsor the Evening Book Discussion Group on the second Monday evening of each month (September – June). The Fallston Library also offers a Daytime Book Discussion Group on the third Tuesday morning of each month (September – June). In addition to our book groups, the Fallston Library offers a wide variety of programs for the whole family, including our First Monday Playtime for Babies ages 6 – 24 months, Drop-in Story Times every Friday morning and our Teen Game Nights. Call or stop by and our friendly and knowledgeable staff will assist you with your reading and information questions.