Warren-Trumbull Library System Lays Off 97 Workers

WARREN, Ohio — The Warren-Trumbull County Public Library is furloughing 97 full- and part-time employees effective May 3.

The library board of trustees approved the personnel cost-reduction plan as a result of the library’s extended closure during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Furloughed employees enrolled in the library’s health, vision, and dental insurances will remain covered at least through July 31, the library said, and the employee assistance program will be available for affected employees.

Twenty staff members are being retained to provide essential business functions and support digital services while the library buildings are closed.

“Each of our employees is incredibly valuable to the services we provide, and this was an extremely difficult step to take,” said library director Jim Wilkins. “However, with the prolonged closure and the expected drop in funding, it became clear it is necessary to reduce our operating costs.”

Wilkins said the library is looking at a potential revenue loss of $1 million per year. About 56% of the system’s budget comes from the Public Library Fund, which receives 1.7% of the total general tax revenue collected by the state of Ohio.

The projected estimated net savings from the furloughs is about $153,000 for one month. Wilkins said the library will also be considering other cost-saving measures.

All branches of the Warren-Trumbull County Public Library have been closed since March 17 and will remain closed until at least June 1.

Library administrators are developing a return-to-service plan that will be implemented in phases once the state stay-at-home order expires, Wilkins said. The lack of available masks, gloves, and disinfecting supplies could affect plans to reopen library buildings or return to full operation, he noted.

“We thank all our employees for their dedication to the library, and we look forward to the time when our library buildings can reopen and we can again fully serve the community,” said Wilkins.

In February the system announced an estimated $8 million expansion to the main branch Warren Library, 444 Mahoning Ave. N.W. The addition would increase the building’s size to some 72,000 square feet up from 58,029, an increase of about 25%.

The Warren-Trumbull County Public Library includes libraries in Brookfield, Cortland, Howland, Liberty, Lordstown, Warren, and Bookmobile and Homebound Library services.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.