All’s Quiet At The Woodbury Library

The R.H. Stafford Branch Library is now closed on Sundays and Mondays.

No need to say shhh… the Woodbury library is closed today.

Because of the New Year’s holiday, today, Sunday, Jan. 8, marks the beginning of reduced hours at the .

In response, the Woodbury library has looked for new ways to deliver materials to users—most notably through e-readers. The library before Christmas held three e-reader classes, all of which were filled to capacity and even had a waiting list.

“We knew (e-readers were) going to be a big gift thing,” said Chad Lubbers, manager of the R.H. Stafford Branch.

More classes are scheduled for February, and library officials have been handing out flyers and fielding plenty of phone calls and emails about e-readers, titles for which are being checked out more frequently of late, Lubbers said.

“Libraries are always dealing with format changes,” he said. “It’s always a matter of how fast we can adapt to our customers’ needs.”

(Lubbers said he had every staffer at the Woodbury library read at least one book on a digital platform.)

Residents should know that all library programming—including story times—will continue under the new schedule, though some events will be moved to different days, Lubbers said.

Washington County as part of a cost-cutting measure.

Most people are aware of the new hours, Lubbers said. “But we still get the incredulous phone calls.”

“Most folks have been understanding—it’s just a tough economy to be in right now,” Lubbers said Friday. “There’s a lot of belt-tightening going on, and unfortunately it’s our turn.”

The county was prepared for reduced funding from the state and , including Woodbury's, open seven days a week. But when of the Washington County Library system, deeper cuts became necessary.

The R.H. Stafford Branch is , and Lubbers said usage was up 30 percent from 2010 (though that year the library was open fewer hours than 2011).

“It was a very busy year and you hate to see us lose that momentum,” he said.

When word of the county’s decision to reduce hours at libraries came down last year, residents .

The Sunday and Monday reductions will impact 10 people and the equivalent of 5.5 full-time positions (220 hours of staff time).

The Tuesday through Saturday schedule at the Woodbury library will not change.

Edward January 08, 2012 at 01:04 PM
Lake Elmo was contributing $260K to the county library fund, but county was spending more than $130K to run the LE branch library (now it is closed, and city of LE is setting up their own library, so net loss is around 130K).
Collaborate January 08, 2012 at 04:52 PM
The term "opting out" does disservice to Lake Elmo. Lake Elmo has worked very hard to keep its library open and remain part of the county library system. Only AFTER the Washington County Board decided to close the Lake Elmo Library did the city decide to claim the library tax revenue collected in Lake Elmo and dedicate it to library services there. The terms offered by Washington County were (1) washington county would keep the $290,000 in library taxes, (2) they would provide a kiosk if the taxpayers of Lake Elmo would pay for space and supervision of the kiosk. The State of Minnesota funds the Interlibrary Loan Program for "all people in Minnesota". Unfortunately the program is implemented throught the counties which are free to use it to their political and financial advantage. Lake Elmo made the right decision.
Eric Berg January 08, 2012 at 06:35 PM
It will be interesting to see how this all shakes out. If this works for Lake Elmo, will this result in the other kiosk-ed libraries attempting their own start ups? I'll be honest, it seems pretty penny-wise, pound foolish to me. They'll save money, but not have anywhere near the resources of a county-wide library. Certainly, they'll be able to use Inter-library Loan, but my experience has been that going outside the system is slower than being within the system. Besides, if I'm in Woodbury and the book I want is in Cottage Grove, I have the option of going to CG and checking it out. Reciprocity is nice. Of course, considering Lake Elmo's quixotic fight with the Met Council, could any other outcome have been forseen? They're a scrappy, battling bunch, but I've worked for cities like that...you see a lot of water churning behind the boat, but it's not going anywhere. I could be wrong. Maybe this is the greatest decision since some guy came up with sliced bread. If I were a betting man, I wouldn't be putting money down on a success, though.
Edward January 08, 2012 at 10:37 PM
Pros/cons: A kiosk doesn't provide a quiet space for reading or study or gathering in the community. County had cut LE library down to 20 open hours a week (all during the day, so working adults and students couldn't get there), so it was like having no library at all for them. With city running the library, hours can be set to meet needs of the community. Each household that chooses to use other county libraries will be reimbursed the cost of a library card ($60) from a special city fund, so anyone can get books from Woodbury or Oakdale libraries. as they did before (and many had to, because of the limited hours of the LE library). Cons: Residents will have to exercise patience during this interim period while the city makes the transition to a new library. There will be glitches, as there are with any startup, but anything worth having requires investment of time and effort.


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