Libraries Operating At A Big Loss

HONESDALE – The Wayne Library Alliance is trying to find ways to keep the doors at eight libraries open, but an annual audit shows the alliance is tens of thousands of dollars short.

On Monday, Alicia Keast and her kids carefully selected a new stack of books to dive into at the Wayne County Public Library in Honesdale, filled with mystery, suspense, thrills and fun.

“It’s just like really fun because there’s like adventure, and a lot of fun stuff and mystery,” said 8-year old Rochelle Keast of Waymart.

This stop at one of Wayne County’s eight libraries is something this and many other families enjoy.

“They can kind of explore any place, go any place they want to go within just one building,” said Alicia Keast of Waymart.

But the Wayne County Library Alliance is dealing with a major financial shortfall at its libraries in Hamlin, Hawley, Newfoundland and other communities.

“When we put everybody’s numbers together we realized that we ran basically… almost a 48,000 dollar deficit last year,” said System Administrator Molly Rodgers.

State funding only covers about twenty percent of the library’s annual costs.

Just how these libraries in Wayne County will fix this budget deficit remains a mystery, much like many of the novels, but those who work and visit the facilities say they don’t want to have to go without.

“It is definitely a foundation of our community. It’s a free place to go, and that to me is like, in this day in age, is non-existent,” said Keast.

The library says they’ve already trimmed budgets back, are reaching out to county leaders and are launching their annual fall appeal soon, hoping the community responds in a big way, but know that might not be enough.

“There are some very tough decisions in our future,” said Rodgers.

But some young avid readers hope there’s a happy ending in store for these libraries.

“I never want to see any library go away,” said Rochelle.

If private donations and possible help from the county are not enough, some libraries could be out of cash within the next year.

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