Board of Education OKs library spending plan
By Derrick DePledge
Advertiser Education Writer
KAILUA The state Board of Education yesterday backed a spending plan for state libraries so branches can fill some staff vacancies and perhaps restore some library services cut earlier this year.
In May, library administrators put branches on a five-day, 40-hour schedule and cancelled bookmobiles on O'ahu, Maui and the Big Island because of budget cuts. Gov. Linda Lingle eased state spending restrictions in September after an optimistic forecast from the Council on Revenues, which then freed libraries to request to fill some staff vacancies.
Libraries are looking to hire 40 people soon, and branches are exploring how services might be brought back. A recent report on the youth summer reading program, for example, found that branches were open 194 hours less per week this summer than the previous summer.
"It's not going to happen next week. We're just in the process of recruiting," said Keith Fujio, of the library administrative services branch.
The libraries also want $1 million next fiscal year for the purchase of books and materials and $5 million for health and safety and Americans with Disabilities Act capital improvement projects.