Local library turns into research center - WNEM TV 5

Local library turns into research center

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SAGINAW, MI (WNEM) -

Recent funding cuts have left local libraries on the chopping block, but one building is getting another chance, thanks to a local organization.

It will no longer be a library, but will hopefully still be valuable to the community.

The smell of old books and whispers are the smells and sounds of a library, but at Archer A. Claytor Library in Saginaw that won't be the case any longer. 

The Public Libraries of Saginaw decided earlier this week to remove the building's library status and turn it into a community resources center because of budget reasons.  

"First Ward is actually going to be doing the staffing and we'll continue to provide the study spaces, the materials and some programming as we do now," said Trish Burns, director of Public Libraries of Saginaw.

Books and study spaces will still be there, but residents won't be able to check the books out and there will no longer be a computer system.

"Actually it's not going to look a whole lot different," Burns said.

The library is located inside the First Ward Community Center building on 12th Street and in just a few weeks the library area will become a room with just books and tables. 

The Public Libraries of Saginaw hope to keep the name Archer A. Claytor on the building in some form and when the change does happen, it will no longer be open to the public, but they hope to one day change that.

"Right now it's going to be primarily First Ward patrons and a majority of the use of the Claytor library has been First Ward patrons," Burns said.

Residents' reactions to this change have been mixed. Some think it's a great way to work with limited funding, while others mourn the loss of a library.

"So far we've received pretty decent feedback. There's been a couple people who have been unhappy it won't be open to the public any longer and I do understand that," Burns said.

In the end, the public libraries needed to make cuts, and this is a solution that will still keep books on shelves, just in a different form.

"We're trying to continue access as much as we can in a fiscally responsible way. I think this is a good thing for everybody," Burns said.

The Saginaw Community Foundation will fund the new resource center.

The staff will be volunteers of the First Ward Community Center.

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