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Library service hours reduced in Wadena County

Photo by Rachelle Klemme. Branch manager Renee Frethem shows a computer screen offering a geneology research, Auto Repair Reference Center, access to online books and other services. Along with books, audiobooks, music and movies, the library also offers services including test proctoring, Legacy events, adults' and children's reading programs, and home delivery for people who aren't able to go to the library in person.

Effective March 4, Wadena County residents will have reduced access to public library services at the Wadena City Library and the mobile library.

These service reductions are the result of the Wadena County Board's decision to reduce its funding to the lowest level allowed by the state of Minnesota, according to the library.

The Wadena City Library will be closed on Mondays for the remainder of 2012. One part-time position has been eliminated, paid hours have been reduced for a second employee, and the budget for books, DVDs, spoken word and other library materials has been reduced.

Rural residents who use the mobile library services in Nimrod, Sebeka and Menahga will also be affected. The mobile library will continue to stop twice a month from February through November, and once a month in January and December, but the hours have been cut in half. The Sebeka stop will be one hour, and the Menahga stop will be reduced to two hours. The "drop stop" at Green Pine Acres has been eliminated.

"We understand the financial pressures that the county has to deal with" said Kitchigami Regional Library System Director Marian Ridge, "but library service has been important to Wadena County residents and it has been hard for us to identify and implement these cuts."

In addition to the hours of service, the budgets for books and other materials has been reduced for the city library and the mobile library.

The service reductions made are consistent with the Wadena County motion that their levy reduction be divided 50/50 between the city library services and the mobile library.