HALLOWELL — In an effort to reduce a deficit in its projected operating budget, Hubbard Free Library will not open on Fridays, starting next month.

Beginning Sept. 6, the library will be closed on Friday, according to a memo circulated Wednesday by Ken Young, president of the library’s Board of Trustees. The library is usually open from 2-5:30 p.m. Friday. The library will remain open from 2-7 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

“It’s not a happy decision,” Young said in a phone call Thursday.

The memo said the group chose Friday because it is the least active day in the Hubbard’s weekly schedule. Young said the cut will save the library $4,000 of a projected $18,000 deficit in its operating budget for the current fiscal year.

“This change will produce a modest reduction in the projected deficit and is an important first step in addressing the larger problem of insufficient revenues,” the memo reads. “The Trustees regret having to take this step and will do everything possible to mitigate the impact on patrons, the wonderful, dedicated and hardworking staff at the Hubbard, and the community.”

The memo said the library may have to consider “additional cost-saving measures,” including even more cuts to hours and staff and a reduction in books and programming.

Young said trustees are looking for smaller areas to cut rather than bigger ones through staff reductions. He said repairs to windows may save on energy costs and could help the overall deficit.

He mentioned the city or donors could also do their part to lower the deficit. Last month, residents pleaded with city councilors to increase Hallowell’s contribution to the library in the fiscal year’s budget. Despite calls to close the deficit with $60,000 in municipal funds, the council moved along a budget with $42,000 for the library.

Last year, the city allocated $15,000 in TIF funds, on top of its usual $27,000 contribution, for strategic planning to determine the best way forward for the library. Young said in June that the effort revealed Hallowell residents wanted more from the library. In April, library officials asked for $74,000 from the city in fiscal year 2020, while it was staring down a $12,000 shortfall in the current fiscal year. They later amended their request to $60,000 when the deficit was lowered through “creative thinking,” according to Young.

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