The Coplay Library Board's administrative committee gave its report at the Aug. 8 board meeting, prompting sweeping changes.
"Some might find this objectionable," said board member Charles Sodl. "But this has to be done."
The primary changes approved by the board at the recommendation of the administration committee have to do with staff procedures and how things work internally.
For example, only two of the library's five employees can be scheduled at one time with their shifts overlapping by 15 minutes. Extra staffing for programs, such as speakers, crafts or story hour must be preapproved by the board.
"Some people are going to take this personally. So be it," said Sodl, who chairs the administration committee. "Our job is to control what we can control and spend the money wisely."
Staff will also be responsible for tracking the contributions of volunteers, the board decided.
"Let's not be naive about it. We need volunteers," Sodl said.
The library did a "great job" of campaigning to save itself. Now it has to find a way to operate on the money it has, he said.
"We're going to have a shortfall," Sodl said. The dedicated tax approved by referendum is expected to bring in between $65,000 and $72,000 annually. Officials have said the borough may not continue to give the library its $16,500 yearly stipend and, if the library brings in a less local money than before, it stands to lose a portion of its state aid.
"We're going to need volunteers to fill that slot. So let's not skate around what has to be done," Sodl said.
Noting they plan to heavily recruit volunteers, board members asked whether volunteers would be able to work behind the desk, assisting patrons checking out and returning books.
Codirectors Maryrose Farquhar and Sharon Dougherty pointed out state law forbids the library to release information on patrons, making it touchy to have volunteers working the desk.
Attorney John Stover suggested the library have volunteers sign confidentiality agreements but acknowledged they would be difficult to enforce. He said he will research the issue further.
The other issue raised by Farquhar and Dougherty was whether a volunteer would be able to learn the computer system working only an hour or two a week.
Stover suggested volunteers take on other tasks besides working the desk.
"We've never really had a ton of volunteers," said Dougherty, adding the library currently has only one adult volunteer who contributes regularly – board member Joan Witco.
"We've got to change that," said board President Janet Eisenhauer.
"Everybody is worth something and it's a shame not to utilize that energy out there," said Sodl.
He said he believes the library could get more volunteers by being more organized and having duties ready for volunteers to perform.
"We have got to just change our mindset," said Eisenhauer, adding she wants to see volunteers involved in all aspects of running the library.
"We've got to find a way of working more efficiently with the people we have and find a way to bring more volunteers in," she said.