The Fair Lawn library will be forced to reduce its operating hours and expand staffer responsibilities in anticipation of imminent borough budget cuts.
Borough manager Tom Metzler said his recommendation to allot $100,000 less to the library than library director Tim Murphy had requested prompted the move.
Murphy confirmed Thursday that, beginning in April, the library will start closing at 6 p.m. on Tuesdays, rather than the 9 p.m. closing time residents have come to expect. The library will still remain open until 9 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
Other changes at the library are more likely to affect the staff than the patrons.
For one, full-time workers including Murphy himself, will be expected to increase their productivity by picking up additional tasks around the library in an attempt to reduce the number of part-time hours billed.
"This is the new norm in Fair Lawn," Metzler said, referring to the need for short-staffed borough employees to add new responsibilities. "This happens all over the municipal building. Every secretary in the building is working for two departments. Now [the library] has just kind of caught up to the budget process this year."
Murphy said he was also planning to furlough library workers on all five Fridays during the month of August to save on costs.
"It's a down time for us and we thought it would minimize the inconvenience for the public," he explained, adding that he doesn't anticipate having to cut any positions, just hours. "Everyone is going to pull together in an attempt to minimize having to do anything worse."
While the manager's suggested cuts can still be restored by council, Murphy isn't getting his hopes up.
"My understanding of the borough's financial situation is that it's grave," he said. “We’ll do the best job we have with the resources we get this year. Same as every year.”