The Santa Cruz City-County Library System has hired a library director from Oregon at a time when deep cuts in services are being proposed to balance the system’s budget.
The new director is Teresa Landers, who will leave her job as deputy library director of the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library system. A librarian for 30 years, she was named Librarian of the Year in 2007 by the Oregon Library Association and had been a finalist in the 2008 search to head the Jefferson County library system in Colorado.
Landers will replace acting director Susan Elgin, who took over when longtime director Anne Turner retired in December. Elgin, who is nearing retirement herself, wasn’t a candidate.
At a library board meeting Monday, May 11, about 300 patrons of the Garfield Park and La Selva Beach libraries packed Santa Cruz City Hall to protest possible closures or hour reductions at the two branches.
Board members did not make any specific cuts but voted 6-3 to take any branch closure off the table.
That leaves Elgin with no alternative but to recommend major service cuts at all branches. The board meets again June 1.
The library budget contains estimated revenues of $11,355,000, a drop of nearly $1 million from the current year’s $12,336,575. The primary cause is a drop in property and sales tax receipts occasioned by the global economic downturn.
In a report, Elgin proposed several savings scenarios ranging from closing all but the system’s four largest branches to making across-the-board cuts and leaving all branches open. She asked the board to provide direction before she prepares a final budget proposal.
The system already had instituted a staff furlough program, closed branches on Fridays and taken other steps to reduce expenses for the current fiscal year.

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