Thanks to several dozen members of the Redlands community, the A.K. Smiley Public Library will not have to drastically cut its hours or make many of the projected layoffs that city officials feared would have to happen because of the coronavirus pandemic.
In a Facebook post, the library said in just two weeks, Redlanders raised $193,000 to donate to the 126-year-old institution. These donations have left the library feeling “humble and grateful.”
“What an amazing testament to the people of our community who, rather than see drastic cuts in our library’s hours and services, dug into their own pockets to keep it open,” library trustee Rosa Gomez said in a statement.
The donations, combined with the library’s $126,000 reserve fund, were enough to keep the library from having to make many cuts, at least for one year.
“Fortunately the library board was able to cobble together additional reserve funds to contribute, but the challenge when you use one-time funds for recurring needs is that once they’re spent, they’re spent,” Gomez said. “We won’t be able to do this again next year.”
Library Director Don McCue said in a statement the library has not fully recovered from cuts made during the Great Recession, “so the sudden 20 percent reduction from the city meant the loss of 16 positions and the elimination of 21 hours of service to the public. While this doesn’t fix everything for the upcoming year, it is a great help, allowing the library to be open 48 hours a week instead of only 35.”
Learn more about the A.K. Smiley Public Library and how to help here. —Catherine
Posted: June 21, 2020