The solution to the Havelock-Craven County Public Library’s funding shortfall wasn’t found at a meeting Monday between Craven County officials and library leaders.
Susan Simpson, director of the Craven-Pamlico-Carteret Regional Library, which oversees the Havelock library, said the meeting was informational only and that no decisions were made about providing more money for the library.
“It was just a chance for the library and the county officials to discuss the situation and to hear how the library is adapting to the loss of funding from Havelock,” Simpson said. “We didn’t go into it expecting a decision.
“I thought it was an excellent meeting. Craven County has been very generous to the Havelock library and seems very understanding of our situation. I thought it a very cordial, and productive informational meeting.”
The Havelock library announced last month that it would be reducing hours of operation and making fewer purchases of books, magazines and newspaper subscriptions due to a shortfall in its budget. The city of Havelock decided in June to fund just $4,000 of a $47,000 budget request from the library.
The library serves city and county residents as well as students at the Havelock campus of Craven Community College and Early College EAST.
The city is at odds with the county about several funding issues, including the library. Havelock officials say that city taxpayers have historically provided about 35 percent of the library’s budget, far exceeding the amount of money other cities such as New Bern, Cove City and Vanceboro have contributed to county libraries in their cities.
Those attending the meeting included Craven County Board of Commissioners chairman Tom Mark, commissioners Theron McCabe and Scott Dacey, Craven County manager Jack Veit, Craven County finance officer Richard Hemphill, Judy Bird, chairman of the CPC Regional Board of Trustees, and Simpson.
Simpson said there was discussion about approaching Havelock officials again with another request for funding. Bird and Simpson have decided to meet with city officials to review with them the impact of the funding loss and how it is affecting the library. No date for a meeting between Havelock and the library officials has been set.
“I disagree with them waiting to see what Havelock is going to give them because I don’t believe Havelock will give them anything,” McCabe said on Tuesday. “They don’t have the funds to fund the library for this fiscal year. I don’t think they’ll give a dime. They don’t have it to give.”
Havelock officials previously had said that they would consider funding library programs but felt that providing money for operations and salaries for the library was the responsibility of the county.
The new Havelock library hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesdays and Saturdays.