Hours to be added at Fresno County libraries

The Fresno BeeApril 1, 2014 

Nearly half of Fresno County Library branches will add hours under a plan being considered Tuesday by county supervisors.

CRAIG KOHLRUSS/THE FRESNO BEE — Fresno Bee Staff Photo Buy Photo

Fresno County library visitors will get four hours more each week at 15 branches and the library system will upgrade its outreach programs under a plan county supervisors approved Tuesday.

Supervisors spent only a few minutes discussing the issue before voting 5-0 to extend library hours.

In January, Fresno County Librarian Laurel Prysiazny suggested that supervisors cut hours in some branches and add hours in others. The cuts were designed to provide money for outreach programs, such as the new kiosk at Sierra Vista Mall in Clovis and the Library Without Walls (WoW!) program, which allows librarians to make appointments and visit people who have in-depth research questions.

Supervisors opposed that plan and asked her to add hours by using money from Measure B, the eighth-of-a-cent sales tax measure approved in 2012 by Fresno County voters.

"I appreciate you letting us take a look at it a second time and try to come up with an alternative because it works for us," she said.

Tuesday's approval allows the library system to add six full-time librarians, two full-time library assistants and one part-time library assistant using $563,945 beginning July 1. The new hours take effect on April 14 and the new positions will cost $133,562 through June 30.

"Last time we met we were all a little concerned," Supervisor Henry R. Perea told Prysiazny. "I think we were all mutually concerned for the same thing and that was keeping the libraries open for the public that we serve."

Supervisor Debbie Poochigian said she worried that some libraries could close during the lunch hour, but Prysiazny assured her that the new funding will allow all branches to stay open during noontime.

Supervisor Judy Case McNairy said her constituents were concerned about a reduction in library hours in January because some branches in her district faced cutbacks.

"People would come over and speak with me very worried," she said, "so I am happy with the new plan."

Under the new plan, Case McNairy's district has seven branches getting additional hours.

"I think our promise with Measure B was that the libraries would be open more hours and that was very important to folks," she said.

In other action, supervisors also confirmed the appointment of Dan Cederborg as Fresno County counsel with a 5-0 vote.

Cederborg, 53, replaces Kevin Briggs, who retired last week after 26 years in the counsel's office. Briggs, 59, spent the past five years as the county's top lawyer.

Cederborg has worked in Yolo County for eight years. Prior to that, he worked for the San Joaquin County counsel. He has been a lawyer since 1986.

"This is a wonderful opportunity and I really appreciate the confidence and the honor that the board is bestowing on me by this appointment," Cederborg told the board Tuesday.

Cederborg, who will earn $169,702 annually, starts April 28.

Libraries adding four hours per week:

-- Gillis (Dakota and Fruit avenues, Fresno)

-- Politi (Bullard Avenue and First Street, Fresno)

-- Cedar Clinton (Fresno)

-- Reedley

-- Sanger

-- Selma

-- Auberry

-- Caruthers

-- Fowler

-- Kerman

-- Kingsburg

-- Mendota

-- Orange Cove

-- San Joaquin

<SC120,116>West Fresno

The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6166, mbenjamin@fresnobee.com or @beebenjamin on Twitter.

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