East Side Library To Remain Open; Union Agrees To New Contract - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

East Side Library To Remain Open; Union Agrees To New Contract

SPOKANE, Wash. – A plan to keep Spokane's East Side library open next year moved forward when the Library Board of Trustees unanimously approved a new contract for library workers that will save the system tens of thousands of dollars.

"It should give us enough savings to keep the East Side library open," said trustee Jack Fallis.

A union of library workers agreed to amend their contract to accept a one-percent cost of living increase next year rather than the four-percent they were originally scheduled to receive.

The move will help close a budget shortfall of approximately $200,000 the Spokane Public Library system is facing.

"I have two young children and we love going to that library for a variety of reasons," said Jennifer Hansen. "I have an eight year old who just loves the freedom he feels in that library where he can go and pick out his own books."

The board of trustees will formally approve next year's budget at their board meeting next month, but trustees said they are all but certain they will have enough money to keep the library open.

No library has closed in the city system for approximately 30 years.

The East Side branch is the least used site in the city system, leading some to consider closing the branch when faced with the budget shortfall.

It is widely used by members of the East Central Community Center, a nearby daycare and members of a senior-citizen complex who live near the library.

Approximately 100 people attended previous board meetings to voice their support for the branch and encourage trustees to find other areas to cut money.

Trustees warn that while the branch appears safe for the 2011 fiscal year, tough decisions will need to be made the following year unless the economic climate improves and their budget is increased.

KHQ Local News Reporter Anthony Gomes contributed to this report.

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