Last week the Monroe County Public Library’s Board of Trustees discussed the negative effect parking meters are having on library patrons.
Board member Stephen Moberly referred to the library’s circulation numbers, which have declined since the downtown meters were installed in August.
“Looking at the chart, we had a slight decrease last year of half of one percent. This year, we had a 3.3% decrease,” Moberly said, “I think it’s attributed to one thing, though it may not be politically correct to say. The parking meters, I think, have been devastating to the library. You can come and see around the block that no cars are parked there, and there always were before because they were our patrons. Some retail merchants have closed and suffered because of the meters, but the library is suffering too.”
Board President Valerie Merriam says the library should tell the City Council and Mayor Mark Kruzan about what effect the meters have had. She says circulation hasn’t dropped this much in almost two decades.
“There is a general decline to everything that is related with coming in to the library,” Merriam said.
Moberly suggested that these are people that might not have the money to feed the meters, and that they should let city hall know about these concerns.
Library Director Sara Laughlin says she would convey those concerns to city officials. But Laughlin says she doesn’t have any short term solutions to reverse the effects.
“I think we’ve done what we can do in helping people find places to park,” Laughlin said, “In fact, I know that the parking finder page on our website is still one of the top pages on the site. Longer term, it would be great to have a second branch with lots of parking, otherwise we just can’t increase our parking capacity downtown.”
The library has also considered expanding hours on Sundays, when the city does not require drivers to pay the meters.