Library Cuts Due To Budget Draws Criticism; Hours Slashed For Century, Molino

September 26, 2012

The West Florida Library will cut library hours next month — including drastic cuts for Century and the soon to open Molino branches — due to budget cutbacks. And the move is drawing sharp criticism from Escambia County officials.

“Libraries are the heart and soul of our community. With budget cuts and a higher cost of doing business, the Library Board of Trustees felt it was important to keep all of our locations open and available.” said Darlene Howell, acting library administrator. “Keeping our libraries open is important and we wanted to make choices that had the least impact on the people we serve.”

Planned library reductions include cutting operational hours by one-third, reducing part-time employees by 30 percent, subscriptions by 15 percent and book purchases by 85 percent.  The new Molino Branch, set to open this fall, will be staffed by personnel from the Century Library, while the Century Library will see hours cut by 40 percent. The library system hopes to stock the shelves at the Molino Branch with duplicates from within the system and donated items.

With the passage of a fiscal year 2012-2013 budget Tuesday night, Escambia County cut their library contribution by five percent or $165,000 from the previous year. No additional funds were provided by Escambia County for the new Molino Branch Library, but the county will pick up the tab for utilities and upkeep for fiscal year 2012-13.

“The threatened 30% across the board cut by the library is garbage and solely intended to be an alarmist tactic,” Escambia County Administrator Randy Oliver said Tuesday. ” The library needs to act responsibly like the county has and live within their means.”

Oliver said the library has increased expenses almost 12 percent in a year. By comparison, he said Escambia County has eliminated about 150 positions and cut expenses by 8.6 percent from 2012 and almost 16 percent since 2009.

“The library needs to control expenses like the county has done and, in my opinion, use more volunteers,” Oliver said. “Volunteers are a great source of resources for libraries.”

Escambia County provides 70 percent of the West Florida Library’s funding but has no say into the day to day operations of the agency.

“Our funding is dependent on formula of usage. If unincorporated usage goes down, our funding goes down. Next year we should be required to pay less due to usage. This may allow us to reduce our expenditure significantly the next year,”  Escambia Commissioner Grover Robinson said. “Either way this just demonstrates the severe flaw in a system that forces one group to pay so much of the bill and have no say in the system.”

New West Florida Library hours by location, beginning October 1, will be:

MAIN LIBRARY — 200 W. Gregory Street

  • Sunday            12pm – 4pm
  • Monday           10am – 6pm
  • Tuesday          10am – 6pm
  • Wednesday     10am – 6pm
  • Thursday         10am – 8pm
  • Friday              10am – 4pm
  • Saturday         10am – 4pm

TRYON BRANCH LIBRARY -- 1200 Langley Avenue

  • Sunday            CLOSED
  • Monday           10am – 6pm
  • Tuesday          10am – 6pm
  • Wednesday     12pm – 8pm
  • Thursday         10am – 6pm
  • Friday              10am – 4pm
  • Saturday         10am – 4pm

SOUTHWEST BRANCH LIBRARY – 12248 Gulf Beach Highway

  • Sunday            CLOSED
  • Monday           12pm – 8pm
  • Tuesday          10am – 6pm
  • Wednesday     10am – 6pm
  • Thursday         10am – 6pm
  • Friday              10am – 4pm
  • Saturday         10am – 2pm

WESTSIDE BRANCH LIBRARY — 1580 W. Cervantes Street

  • Sunday            CLOSED
  • Monday           10am – 6pm
  • Tuesday          12pm – 8pm
  • Wednesday     10am – 6pm
  • Thursday         12pm – 8pm
  • Friday              10am – 4pm
  • Saturday         10am – 4pm

CENTURY BRANCH LIBRARY – 7991 N. Century Boulevard

  • Sunday            CLOSED
  • Monday           CLOSED
  • Tuesday          9am – 5pm
  • Wednesday     CLOSED
  • Thursday         12pm – 8pm
  • Friday              CLOSED
  • Saturday         9am – 5pm


  • (Opening Fall 2012)
  • Sunday            CLOSED
  • Monday           10am – 6pm
  • Tuesday          CLOSED
  • Wednesday     10am – 6pm
  • Thursday         CLOSED
  • Friday              10am – 6pm
  • Saturday         CLOSED


  • New Schedule: TBA


20 Responses to “Library Cuts Due To Budget Draws Criticism; Hours Slashed For Century, Molino”

  1. Missy K on September 27th, 2012 10:55 am

    If cuts are necessary, why not cut out the bookmobile. It seems to me that is the most worthless operation that I have ever seen. I have seen this bus stopped in Dacisville for years and years and NEVER have I seen a patron at the bookmobile. NEVER

  2. Mark on September 27th, 2012 12:20 am

    Why don’t the libraries open later and stay open later? The majority of the closing times I see is 6:00pm! That doesn’t give a kid getting our of school much time to go home, relax for a bit, grab some dinner, and then head to the library to get some studying done, do some research, etc.

    The ones that really lose in this whole deal are school age children who really need the library.

  3. Trish on September 26th, 2012 7:05 pm

    To Landowner:

    Are you saying that you are going to shoot someone who happens to walk on your property? That is a tad drastic don’t you think?

    The only livestock I have seen around there have proper fences. But livestock is livestock and we do live in the country.

  4. Trish on September 26th, 2012 6:47 pm

    To Molino Mom:
    I am sorry I do not agree about how something can run on mainly volunteers. There are hundreds of organizations in our county begging for volunteers and can’t find them. It would be interesting to find a study on this wild wild world of the internet of how long a volunteer actually stays where they thought they wanted to volunteer.

    You will notice at churches and schools it is always the same people who volunteer because they can find very few who are willing to step up to the plate. Someone may start out with the right intensions but real life beats its way back in (school functions, baseball or football practice, church functions, vacations, family coming into town, would rather go to family function). Don’t get me wrong I have met some very dedicated people who volunteer a lot but they are far and few between.

  5. A Whorff on September 26th, 2012 5:10 pm

    Hate to see more cuts. Hate to see the wonderful and friendly ladies @ the Century branch loosing out. Hate that my kids as well as others will be loosing out quality entertaiment and education. Very sad

  6. Terri Sanders on September 26th, 2012 12:08 pm

    It would be interesting to see statistics from all the libraries…then look at closing the lowest use days..I like Cheryl’s idea…close them all 2 days a week…..Northend hasn’t had a decent voice on the board since Wilson robertson was there.

  7. PATTY on September 26th, 2012 10:58 am

    I AGREE WITH TAXPAYER, i’M ONE TOO! Does sound like to Pensacola the NORTHEND doesn”t matter. They shut down Walnut Hill & Century Health Clinics, and I believe the bus only runs twice a day to Century, now we have a nice public Library and they only want it open 24 hours a week in Century & Molino. How SAD!! SOMEHOW, this doesn’t surprise me. YET, WE PAY TAXES THE SAME AS FOLKS IN PENSACOLA. The commissioners or who-ever doesn’t want new industry or conmerce in the North End. Just look at the Civic Center. It’s in a conjested area, and theres plenty of room in the North End. HEY! It’s just as far for me to go to Pensacola as it would be for them to come North. They need to think about the COUNTY, NOT JUST PENSACOLA.

  8. My Two Cents on September 26th, 2012 10:51 am

    Who is the Molino Library here to serve? I, for one, have a son in middle school and am planning to take him to this library. He does not get off the bus until 445. So either Monday, Wednesday or Friday i need to rush to get him there so he/we can have 30 minutes at the library that MY taxes help pay for? Why not have it open for a full day on Saturday? The people that are making these decisions need to be replaced. We, the people, need to make the decision as to when it needs to be open.

  9. CONCERNED ABOUT OUR LIBRARIES on September 26th, 2012 10:49 am


  10. Landowner on September 26th, 2012 9:07 am

    They can not open until they meet county requirements. The people who live next to this place that has livestock needs a fence put up. We already have people coming onto our property. The county can stop it because I know they don’t want me to!!!!

  11. MolinoLady on September 26th, 2012 9:00 am

    Commissioners have given $125,000 for books and computers in the Molino Library. That should be enough. The county is paying power, water, garbage…. It is the responsibility of the Library system to staff it. It is staffing it part time. Darlene Howell said “Molino is close to Century”… They have no idea we are 20 miles away when all of theirs are less than four of each other.
    You are right – they think we need nothing and are country hicks. It is always our fault but we think at last, the commissioners see this.

  12. Armymajorswife on September 26th, 2012 8:58 am

    Obviously, the people commenting on here are not making the issue of downtown and the North end. The county did that themselves when the cuts were not done evenly across the board. When you live in the North end you can’t help but feel the disproportional cuts being shoved at you at all times. Pulling together is a good thing, but please we need our hours as much as the rest of the county.
    As far as donating, I know my mother spent her own money to buy books, and dvd’s for the library. She worked at the Century branch before she passed away. She went above and beyond, and still they cut. Hats off to all the Library workers! I am so sorry to hear about the cuts.
    * Trish* I have no doubt you could do their job. I wonder will they take you up on it! lol

  13. Navy Captain's Wife on September 26th, 2012 8:11 am

    Whoever are the powers that be, please re-consider the Molino library hours and utilize volunteers that are ready to help. We can make this happen.

  14. Molino Mom on September 26th, 2012 8:07 am

    There are several people that I know of in the Molino area that would volunteer at the new library. Mr. Oliver is correct, volunteeers could assist library personnel in a very important way. Perhaps all those ready to volunteer should call the main library and start up a list of volunteers to help. Even with limited hours, this would be an improvement.
    Let’s not make this issue about the north end and downtown, all of us need to pull together to make this happen, of course, myself included. And don’t forget, when the time comes, to donate your usable books and magazines.

  15. Armymajorswife on September 26th, 2012 7:47 am

    The North end of the county is *losing* not loses. Sorry

  16. Armymajorswife on September 26th, 2012 7:38 am

    It’s a shame that everyone in the North end of the county seems to be less deserving than Pensacola (the South part of the county). All of Pensacola libraries are open 6 days a week. Molino and Century are the ones hit the hardest, but I guarantee you they are not the reason the budget increased by over 12%. But lets hurt the ones already hurting the most. The North end of the county is loses twice as much as the South end every time something needs to be cut. It’s a shame, a sad, sad shame. Eventually there will be nothing left at the North end…

  17. Trish on September 26th, 2012 7:07 am

    The city blames the county then the county blames the city. Will this childs play ever end? Stop using the library like a bone two dogs are fighting over. Randy Oliver needs to get real about volunteers, if you can find good ones they only want to work when it is convenient for them (they are retired for heavens sake if they wanted to work set hours they would find a paying job). How about finding volunteers for our county commissioners or at the tax office. Surely if you can find volunteers for the library you can find volunteers for commissioner jobs. After all you all think people at the library just sit on their rears and read books, just like county commissioners just make promises they never indend to keep and just advertise what a good job they have done then start spending on their re-election.
    And from what I have seen at the tax office they just sit there and take our money (piece of cake – any volunteer could do it too). So Randy Oliver lets try to educate ourselves about volunteers and stop spouting that garbage because it just shows you don’t know what you are talking about. In fact I have pretty good manager skills how about we cut your hours/salery and I will volunteer to work part of your job, I mean how hard can it be???

  18. cheryl on September 26th, 2012 6:34 am

    Why would you close 2 libraries 4 days a week and only close 3 libraries 1 day and never close the Main Library? Seems to me that if you closed all the libraries 2 days a week, the problem would be solved without causing libraries in the north end to be closed more than they are open.

  19. laylaemily on September 26th, 2012 6:12 am

    and they wonder why escambia residents cant get jobs, businesses close up all around you, and pensacola is will dry up and roll away like a tumble weed. lets keep pensacola illiterate never obtaining more than an eighth grade education because all those who get college degrees will move away. i myself would not like a lifetime of asking ” would you like fries with that sir?” the library is the heart and sole of learning!!!!! where did reading go???? you cant learn if you cant read!!!!what happened to reading complete books in school?? “the essential question ” is alot of “b—” lets teach our children again to read and do math and clear out those teachers who cant really teach and are taking up space from those who want to really make a difference

  20. Taxpayer on September 26th, 2012 12:20 am

    So we spend $4 million on the old Molino school so “shore up” the foundation to hold all the heavy books instead of putting them in the new building with a concrete floor where the new tag office is located. Then we decide that it will cost too much to keep this $4 million property open, so we only open it 24 hours a week?

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