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Covington Branch Library to close Mondays after July 1
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Because the Newton County Library System lost $90,717 in funding from the county and an additional $8,900 from the state, the Covington branch will be closed on Mondays beginning July 1.

The Newton County Library Board of Trustees voted to reduce hours at the Covington Branch Library by closing the facility on Mondays, which will results in some utility savings. The money saved by not having to heat or cool the building on those days will cover part of the budget shortfall.

"We also will have to reduce staff hours and positions to cover the rest of the budget cut," said Library Director Greg Heid. "And with fewer staff members, we have now crossed the threshold where we will not have enough staff members to open the library for six days a week."

However, with the closing of the Covington Branch Library on Mondays, the public will not lose the full eight hours of time to visit the facility.

"We were able to better streamline our hours of operation from Tuesday to Friday by adding one hour to each weekday of operation," Heid said. "Distributing four hours among the other days of the week we will still be able to realize a savings in utility costs. The new streamline schedule will only reduce the number of hours we are open to the public from 48 hours per week to 44 hours per week."

The new hours of operation for the Covington Branch Library after July 1 will be:

Monday Closed
Tuesday 9 a.m. - 8 p.m. (The Library will open one hour earlier.)
Wednesday 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. (The Library will remain open one hour later.)
Thursday 9 a.m. - 8 p.m. (The Library will open one hour earlier.)
Friday 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. (The Library will remain open one hour later.)
Saturday 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Sunday Closed

The reduction in funds from the county and the state will also have an impact on the hours of operation at the Newborn Service Outlet. As of July 1, the library in Newborn will be open each Wednesday from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and each Thursday from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

"Declining use on Wednesday mornings and the reduction of library staff gave us no choice but to reduce the Service Outlet's hours on Wednesday." Heid said.

The Newton County Board of Commissioners recently approved a budget of $300,000 to open the Porter Memorial Branch Library from January 2011 through June 2011 on a limited basis.

"This is a very small and frugal budget that can only be used to operate the future branch library," Heid said. "However, it will allow us to open the new library, at least four days a week, to the public."

Both staff and the Library Board of Trustees hope that once the economy improves and the Board of Commissioners increases the library budget, that the original hours of operation can be restored to both the Covington Branch Library and Newborn Library Service Outlet. The Library Board of Trustees also hope that an improved economy will allow them to expand the Porter Memorial Branch Library hours of operation to a full week.