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Rockford Public Library Board may close branches, reduce staffing

Trustees will consider a newly proposed service model which includes two key options, according to a release from the Rockford Public Library on Wednesday.
RPL
RPL(RPL)
Published: Sep. 23, 2020 at 7:07 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - A meeting next week among the Rockford Public Library Board of Trustees will consider major operational changes.

Trustees will consider a newly proposed service model which includes two key options, according to a release from the Rockford Public Library on Wednesday.

• Close two branch locations: The Rock River branch on 11th Street and the Rockton Centre branch on Rockton Avenue. Staff at closed locations would relocate to other locations. However, overall staff would be reduced by approximately 11 part time or 7 full time employees.

• Reduce service hours at all five library locations by approximately 50 percent; or reducing hours from six days per week to three days per week. This would necessitate reducing staff by approximately 27 part time or 16 full time equivalent employees.

Trustees will also discuss adding two mobile libraries. They will travel to all areas of the city and will change locations based on need. The mobile sites will include internet capabilities, exterior awnings for story times and displays, as well as other technology and a reading nook, according to the Rockford Public Library.

The proposal would make 100 Chromebooks available for to check out as well.

“I applaud the Library Board for reflecting on possible changes as the pandemic has interrupted our status quo. Over the past two years, the Library’s strategic plan has included ways to improve our services to the community by focusing our resources on growing and developing the Library,” RPL Executive Director, Lynn Stainbrook said.

Other changes in the release include new shelving, a “teen area” and enhanced youth space at the East Branch. The new 68,000 square foot Main Library is anticipated to open in late 2022 or early 2023. At that time, the Interim Hart Library will be sold, according to the Rockford Public Library.

Copyright 2020 WIFR. All rights reserved.

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