EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

July 3, 2011

Budget cuts hit library loan program

Thanks to state budget cuts, there will be a longer wait if you're ordering books from a nearby library.

New Hampshire's interlibrary loan program allows libraries across the state to pool their collections, bringing patrons the book they want even if their hometown library doesn't have it. But the program is undergoing major cuts with the Legislature's passage of a much slimmer state budget.

State Librarian Michael York said New Hampshire's $1.4 million library budget was cut by $254,000.

"We've had to lay off staff in the state library, two part-time people and four full-time employees," he said. "Two of those were supplemental van drivers."

Those employees drove the vans that transported library materials from Hampstead to Salem or Derry to Manchester for interlibrary loans. Because the state library now has fewer drivers, there will be fewer stops to deliver books.

"In some cases, libraries were getting deliveries five days a week and are going to be now three days a week," he said. "A few libraries will no longer get deliveries."

All 319 libraries in the state will be affected, York said. Salem will have deliveries two days a week rather than three; Derry will go from five days a week to three; Londonderry, Windham and Hampstead will all go from deliveries twice a week to once a week.

York said the state's interlibrary service has expanded dramatically over the past three years and additional staff were brought to handle the workload. They were laid off, he said.

In 2010, the state library delivered 800,000 items at a cost of 44 cents per item.

Cathy Goldthwaite, the Derry Public Library's head of circulation, said the cutbacks will definitely affect patrons who request a book from an outside library.

"Items will be coming in much slower," she said. "Right now, we could get things within two or three days, now people will have to wait a week or two."

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