Medford to search budget for more library money

Friends of the Library group asks for $120,000 to stay open longer

At the request of a local library group, the Medford City Council Thursday voted unanimously to search the Medford budget for $120,000 to open the Central Library's doors more hours.

The Friends of the Medford Library made an appeal to the Medford City Council Thursday for money to buy an extra day of operation. The Friends group said it is prepared to donate $40,000 if the city will provide $120,000. The $160,000 would enable the library to be open an additional four-hour day once a week for two years. The day could be Thursday, Friday or Sunday.

Pat Guild, a member of the Friends group said that 24 hours per week wasn't adequate to serve library patrons. She said one year wasn't enough, because it will likely be two years before a more permanent financial solution for library funding county-wide is available.

Councilman Bob Strosser cautioned that those funds the city would look at would come from services such as police and fire.

"There is no magic pocket," he said.

Mayor Gary Wheeler told the library group the council is looking at a ballot measure in May which, if passed, would boost the Medford library's operating hours from 24 to 40 hours per week. The measure would ask taxpayers for a levy of 6 cents per $1,000 of assessed value or $16 per year on a house assessed at $250,000 (assessed value is typically about half the actual market value).

The money would generate $320,000 annually to fund the additional 16 hours a week.

Before the library's closure in April, it was open 46 hours per week, almost double the current amount of service. The library is open from noon to 7 p.m. Mondays, noon to 6 p.m. Tuesdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays, then closed Thursdays and Fridays and then open from noon to 4 p.m. Saturdays.

Reach reporter Meg Landers at 776-4481 or e-mail

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