The satellite public libraries at Fort Lewis Mesa and Sunnyside elementary schools are no longer at risk of closing after Durango School District 9-R decided to pay the salaries of library staff to ensure funding continuity through 2018.
On Tuesday, Durango 9-R unanimously approved the 2017-18 budget with expenditures totaling $49 million, including the cost of funding the branch libraries.
The libraries were previously funded by La Plata County, but with significant revenue declines projected for next year, the county asked Durango 9-R for help at its May 23 board meeting.
“It costs $72,000 to run both branches for salary and benefits. We are budgeting $99,000 to allow some increase in hours at both branches, as well as provide some additional in-school instructional hours at Fort Lewis Mesa,” said District 9-R spokeswoman Julie Popp.
Friends of the Durango Public Library will help with funding for the branches. The organization sponsors year-round library programs for adults, children and teens.
“We don’t have details yet on how the funding is going to work, but Friends of the Durango Public Library will help support us. ... We haven’t started the budget process for 2018. It’s going to be a different way of looking at how we finance everything,” said Sandy Irwin, Durango Public Library director.
Additionally, the school district, Durango Public Library staff and La Plata County officials will work together to craft a long-term solution to ensure adequate funds are available for the branch libraries in the future.
“9-R has really stepped up and taken the pressure off the county and that is something they don’t have to do,” Irwin said.