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Posted: 4:34 p.m. Thursday, May 10, 2012
By Scott Wickersham
HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. —
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Libraries are spending almost $200,000 on windows for one library.
The North County Library in Huntersville has a lot of windows, and the price to replace them is $185,000.
Library CEO Vick Phillips said some of the 16-year-old windows are letting in moisture.
“If you don't do it now, you’re going to pay more. Because the cost is going to stay the same or go up,” Phillips said to questions about the timing and the cost.
It’s work that must be done, Phillips said, despite the libraries’ financial struggles.
In the recession, the county slashed their budget, forcing branch closures and reductions in hours.
The effects are clear in their visitor numbers: 5.8 million in fiscal year 2010, 3.4 million in 2011 and on pace for 3 million this year.
But Phillips said the library is now emerging leaner and more efficient.
“Management, trustees and the county have much better data about all the places where dollars are spent, how they are spent, and if they are effective and efficient,” Phillips said.
And as for the new windows, library customers seem to accept the cost.
“(It’s) part of any business. You have to keep buildings secured and maintained,” Toby McGlinn said.
“If that is what it takes to keep the library up-to-date and good for another 20 years, I think that is money well spent,” Michele Hill said.
And they hope that pool of library money will grow with better financial times ahead.
While the total visitors have gone down, the library said its visitors per hour open are the highest in three years.
During the renovation, the North County Library is closed until June 9. A temporary library is set up at Birkdale Village.
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