"I’m not making any promises. I’m just saying let’s delay the decision," he said.
Circulation at the LaSalle Branch remains the lowest of the city branches, but the number of visitors is up, he said. Community residents are showing strong support and a willingness to help further increase use of the branch, he said.
"I’m happy to hear they’re going to keep it open. There are a lot of resources here," said Ivy Tech Community College student Robin Jones, who lives near the LaSalle Branch and visits a few times a week. On Thursday, she was there using a library-loaned laptop computer to do her homework.
Connie Cox is a tutor for the South Bend Community School Corp. She uses the LaSalle Branch as a site to provide lessons for children who can’t attend school for medical or other reasons.
If LaSalle were to close, Cox said she’d have to make arrangements for her students to meet her at the Main Library or another location. "That would be more of a hardship for the family to go to the downtown library," she said.
Napoli’s recommendation will be discussed at the library board meeting at 4:15 p.m. Monday at the Main Library, 304 S. Main St. The board is scheduled to vote on the proposed 2011 budget, which includes a proposed operating budget of about $18.7 million.
There won’t be a vote on the LaSalle Branch recommendation, but library trustees are expected to discuss the issue.
The county library in recent years has faced public service hour cuts, reduced purchases and staff cuts through attrition.
The LaSalle Branch recently started opening for four hours on Saturdays, which has increased public use of the branch. If December tax receipts are as good as June 2010 tax receipts were, the library system might be able to reestablish some Saturday hours at the other small branches during 2011, Napoli said.
Public libraries across the state have been facing budget cuts because of property tax caps and the recession.
In Fort Wayne, the Allen County Public Library has eliminated 41 positions in the past two years through attrition, reduced its service hours, and froze its new books and materials budget, the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette reported.
In Marion County, the City-County Council is expected to vote on a measure Monday that would provide an additional $1 million to the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library each year, the Indianapolis Star reported. That library system averted branch closings, but is cutting hours systemwide by 26 percent and expects to lay off about three dozen employees.
Some governmental leaders in Indianapolis have proposed helping the library system by tapping a Tax Incremental Financing district fund that contains tens of millions in reserves, while others think that approach would violate state law, the Star reported.
For the latest LaSalle Branch use figures, see: http://admin.sjcpl.org/LaSalle_Branch.
Staff writer Margaret Fosmoe: email@example.com 574-235-6329