Last Hammond Library Branches to Close - NBC Chicago

Last Hammond Library Branches to Close

The Library Board blames budget cuts and a lack of revenue on the closures



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    The Hammond Public Library Board of trustees voted unanimously Tuesday to close the city's two remaining library branches on Nov. 1.

    More than 70 people met with the board Tuesday night to keep the libraries open. But the E.B. Hayward Branch and Howard Branch will be shut down because of a lack of funds, according to the Northwest Indiana Times.

    Board President Paul Taylor told the paper a decline in revenue the past three years and Indiana's tax cap cutting the amount of property taxes the library receives has led to a loss of more than $800,000 in revenue.

    Taylor said the branches cost $550,000 to operate each year and both branches need major repairs.

    Board members said they looked to other parts of the city for additional funds, but they were not successful. Taylor said the city of Hammond receives $39 million annually in river boat funds, but they are not offered for the library to use, and federal and state grants are not available.

    Those in attendance at the meeting suggested ways the library could bring in extra income such as charging extra fees or lessening operating hours to keep costs down. But that won't happen now.

    The fate of the building and the land is unknown. Taylor explained there's a need for more libraries, but Hammond doesn't have the funds it needs to run the library branches.