There has been much in the news lately about the Carrboro Branch Library, a branch of the Hyconeechee Regional Library System. The Orange County Board of Commissioners approved a budget for 2008-09 that resulted in a reduction of money for temporary personnel and thus a cutback of hours at the Carrboro Branch Library as well as other branches in Orange County.

After fervent outcry from patrons and other interested parties, county staff identified money to cover the cost of personnel, and the original times of operation were reinstated at the library branches (see HERE for a story about a proposed cutback of hours at the Carrboro Branch Library, and HERE for an editorial by Board of Aldermen members Mark Chilton and Dan Coleman).

What had been made apparent these past few weeks is that Carrboro residents are passionate about their library. Persons living in southern Orange County and particularly Carrboro have been lobbying the BOCC for some time for a free-standing library in Carrboro. The financial challenges of such a venture are daunting, to say the least, and are somewhat complicated by the fact that Chapel Hill has a library (built and funded almost entirely by the town, and open to Orange County residents) that sits about a mile from the border of Carrboro.

It is my understanding that the BOCC has allocated 2.7 million in their future Capital Investment Plan for developing a library in Carrboro. This recent publicity about the library will hopefully serve as a catalyst for public officials and citizens to strategize about the financial challenges of a free-standing library in Carrboro, and how we can work toward ultimately reaching this goal, given the forecast of the county and town financial pictures for the years to come.