Officials at the Southfield Public Library announced recently that the facility’s hours will be restored June 3. Due to budget cuts in 2012, the library’s hours were slashed.

Officials at the Southfield Public Library announced recently that the facility’s hours will be restored June 3. Due to budget cuts in 2012, the library’s hours were slashed.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


Southfield Public Library to restore hours June 3

By: Kayla Dimick | Southfield Sun | Published May 29, 2019

 Once the hours are restored, patrons will have access to the library 10 more hours per week.

Once the hours are restored, patrons will have access to the library 10 more hours per week.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

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SOUTHFIELD — For the better part of a decade, the Southfield Public Library has been operating under restricted hours.

All that will change next month.

According to City Librarian Dave Ewick, starting June 3, the library will be adding 10 hours back into the schedule.

In 2011, the budget for the library was cut, leaving city officials with the task of cutting hours, programs and salaries. Hours were reduced by 30 percent, Ewick said in an earlier report.

Southfield overwhelmingly approved a 4.9183-mill tax increase in May 2011, awarding $1.1 million in funds to the Southfield Public Library and balancing the 2011-12 budget. With revenues down 30 percent from the peak year of 2008, though, Ewick said, the numbers still sank for them. Not being able to operate with the $7.84 million budget, they dipped into the city’s $4.8 million fund balance to the tune of $708,270 to compensate for a shortfall in 2012.

The decision to cut hours was not an easy one to make, Mayor Ken Siver said.

“We felt badly. We dreaded it, but it was a necessary decision,” Siver said. “When the decision (to reduce hours) was made years ago, (restoring the hours) was something we talked about, and it’s finally going to happen in June.”

In 2015, the city sold Library Building Authority refunding bonds, which officials said will save almost $4 million over the next 15 years.

The bonds, which were related to the original construction of the library, were sold in the amount of $21.765 million. The bonds were refinanced at an average lower interest rate of 2.86%, as compared to the original rate of 5.04%.

Ewick said the hours are now increasing, thanks to a rise in property values in the city.

“(Property values) are not back to where we can put everything back the way it was, but we had gotten to the point where we needed bodies,” he said. “I put together a plan and took it to the city administrator, and we worked out what we thought the library could afford. I was able to show them we were coming in under budget for a few years. Because we kept our belts (tight) and revenue was growing each year, we were able to make things work.”

With the increase in hours, Ewick said, the library has also added a few new faces to accommodate the three days per week that require two shifts of people.

“One of the things we’re going to be watching is, what happens when somebody goes on vacation or what happens when somebody gets sick?” Ewick said. “We will roll with those punches. I may be spending some time out on the reference desk or fiction desk, and I don’t mind that, but the library board doesn’t want me to do that.”

According to the library’s website, the new hours are:

• 1-9 p.m. Mondays.

• 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Tuesdays.

• 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Wednesdays.

• 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Thursdays.

• 1-5 p.m. Fridays.

• 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Saturdays.

• 1-5 p.m. Sundays September-May.

Ewick said it has been a major goal of his to restore the library’s hours.

“I’m looking at what’s my legacy. I want the building to still be a beautiful building and work,” he said. “Before I retire — and I’m looking at two to four years — I would like to have our hours back. Those are my two goals, and they seem pretty mundane: I want to hold the ship together and make sure it’s got no leaks.”

Siver said he hopes the new hours will draw more people to the library.

“Those extra 10 hours per week will allow more time for people to access the library,” he said.

Ewick said he appreciates patrons’ patience through the years, as well as his staff’s.

“We appreciate that our public has stayed with us through these tough years and that they’ve been understanding,” he said. “We hope that there will be no additional recessions and that we will just do our little slow growth and keep providing the best service we can.”

For more information, contact the Southfield Public Library at (248) 796-4200.

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