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Eugene Public Library copes with budget cuts and fears more are on the way

EPLF staff outside the Eugene Public Library downtown branch.
Eugene Public Library Foundation
EPLF staff outside the Eugene Public Library downtown branch.

The Eugene Public Library has been functioning with a reduced budget since the city made a 15% cut—nearly $4 million—to its general fund allocation last year.

Library advocates are concerned more cuts may be coming. Dana Fleming, Executive Director of the Eugene Public Library Foundation, said the library had to make staffing cuts, reduce its on-site programs and eliminate off-site programs. She says patrons have probably noticed lag times in processing materials and holds.

“They are all a little worn out and tired,” Fleming said about library staff. “And it looks like there will be further cuts this year. And, I’ve been telling folks, you know, you carve all the meat off the bone and there’s not a lot of meat left now.”

Fleming said without the voter passed levy, the Foundationand Friends of the Library, there wouldn't be any money for materials and programs.

The EPL Foundation is holding a “Library Love In” on Thursday, Feb. 8, in the Bascom/Tykeson room at the downtown library.

Library supporters can drop in between 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. to fill out and decorate postcards to send to elected officials.

“It’s a really positive way to flood the mailboxes with love for the library,” Fleming said.

All materials, including postcards, art supplies, and postage will be provided. This event is free to the public. Postcards can also be downloaded from the foundation’s website at eplfoundation.org/advocacy.

“We know people in Eugene love their library,” said Fleming.

The Eugene Public Library Foundation wants creative Eugenians to express their love for the library in art.

The “Love Your Library” design contest is open for entries until March 31.

Fleming said the winning designs will be used on materials like t-shirts, yard signs and stickers for their advocacy efforts for library support.

Fleming told KLCC the public will be able to choose the winning designs and the grand prize winner will be announced at the Foundations Booked For the Evening fundraiser on May 4.

“And so that’s really exciting,” Fleming said. “There’s prize money available. It’s supported by the Oregon Cultural Trust. And we have so many really creative people in Eugene. I’m so excited to see what some of the entries will look like.”

Rachael McDonald is KLCC’s host for All Things Considered on weekday afternoons. She also is the editor of the KLCC Extra, the daily digital newspaper. Rachael has a BA in English from the University of Oregon. She started out in public radio as a newsroom volunteer at KLCC in 2000.
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