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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Owensburg library may be closing down

Friday, January 4, 2013

The Greene County Commissioners have learned that a branch of the Bloomfield-Eastern Greene Public Library in Owensburg may be closing.

Library Director Cassandra Thompson told the Commissioners on Thursday morning that the library's board of trustees are presently evaluating whether closing the Owensburg Branch located in the Hatfield Museum on Main Street might be a more prudent move financially.

She cited that the current leased building is not compliant with ADA requirements for those with disabilities and on-going maintenance issues are a concern.

There are also concerns about low utilization of the library by patrons who last month checked out about 90 printed materials. That compares with about 200 printed materials at the Little Cincinnati branch library, which also serves patrons in the eastern part of the county.

The library board in this day of budget cuts is trying to decide what to do -- move to a new location or close. She did say it was not feasible for the library to purchase a building.

Thompson pointed out that the Owensburg branch library is not cost efficient and she estimates that the cost per patron is about $100, compared to $30 a person for patrons of the Little Cincinnati Branch and $28 a person for the main library in Bloomfield.

Staffing is also an issue with no permanent employee. The library is staffed by a part-time replacement person, she said.

Presently, the library, which is used mostly by youth patrons, is open on Monday and Thursday from 3 p.m. - 7 p.m., Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 9 a.m. until noon on Saturday.

The library director stressed that no decisions have been made. She plans to address the Greene County Council later this month and said a public meeting will be conducted in Owensburg to discuss the possible closing before any action is taken.

"When you start looking at the finances in addition to the building condition and patron usage, the whole big picture ... being this close to the Eastern branch at Little Cincinnati it makes sense to look at it closer," Thompson said. "If we were to find some kind of building in the southeastern section that would work, we would consider it. We are looking three to five years down the road in our planning."

Commissioner's president Rick Graves suggested that Thompson should talk with members of the Greene County Redevelopment Commission to see if they might be able to offer some kind of financial assistance to help with the situation.

The Redevelopment Commission meets this coming Tuesday in the Greene County Courthouse at 10 a.m.

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