Because of continued budgetary constraints, the Millburn Free Public Library will be closed on Sundays from June 24 through September 30.
The reduction in hours is the result of three years of shrinking budgets from the Township, says Library Director William Swinson.
"Despite both high circulation in 2011 (249,934 transactions) and high attendance (236,013 visits), the Library can no longer maintain service-as-usual," Swinson said.
It will, however, remain open on Saturdays during August, when it has traditionally been closed.
Since 2010, Swinson said, the township has funded the Library at the minimum state-mandated level based on equalized valuation. During that time, Millburn’s equalized valuation has been declining. In 2010 Library funding was reduced $62,668; in 2011 it had to absorb another cut of $56,569; and in 2012 it is down $37,733, Swinson said.
In total, the Library has had to deal with an aggregate reduction of $156,970 over three years, Swinson. According to the township's website, the township's proposed appropriation to the library in 2012 will be $2,702,218, which is $239,595 or 9 percent less than 2011's appropriation.
In addition to the Sunday closings, the overall budget for books, magazines, and related materials has been cut from a 2011 total of $140,930 to $104,100, Swinson said. Also, the Library is obligated to contractual salary increases and salary-related benefits.
The decision to close on Sundays was made by the Board of Trustees of the Library at the regular monthly meeting on March 19. The Trustees regret having to make the cut in hours, but maintaining the current schedule of operation would have required even more severe cuts in the acquisition of books, DVDs, CD’s, audio books, and other services.