Like countless others, the Wagnalls Memorial Library in Lithopolis is being affected by recent public library funding cuts and the sour economy.

Like countless others, the Wagnalls Memorial Library in Lithopolis is being affected by recent public library funding cuts and the sour economy.

Several measures to cut costs have been taken and more are imminent.

"There are going to have to be reductions in the remainder of 2009," said M. Ellen Gruber, executive director for the Wagnalls Memorial Foundation, the umbrella under which the library, community center, theater, museum and scholarship program exist.

She said decisions will need to be made and implemented by Sept. 1.

Reduced hours and extended holiday closings are possibilities, library fiscal officer and administrative assistant Deb Silvia said last week, adding that the foundation's board of directors has yet to approve of that.

The Wagnalls Memorial Foundation board of directors met Monday night and discussed options but took no action, Gruber said Tuesday.

The library does not have a taxing authority and there are no plans to pursue that at the moment, according to Gruber.

"Is that an option or an alternative? Of course," she said.

According to Silvia, the library received $349,575 in public library funds last year and anticipates receiving $282,369 this year -- more than $67,000 less.

Silvia said the library will receive $30,000 less in 2010.

The library has received public library funds since 2004, and that is the source of 83 to 85 percent of its income, Silvia said.

The library serves residents in Fairfield, Franklin and Pickaway counties and has 10,600 cardholders, according to Gruber.

Effective July 1, the library stopped mailing overdue and fine notices because of cuts in public library funding. E-mail notices, however, continue to be sent.

Wagnalls visitors have likely noticed that the main elevator hasn't been available to the public for several months. Patrons must instead take the stairs or use the cargo elevator to gain access to the juvenile section of the library.

Silvia said repair estimates for the elevator have ranged from $12,000 to $25,000.

"It's just not in the cards right now," she said.

The second floor of the library was closed at the beginning of the year and the adult nonfiction and reference materials and public access computer lab were relocated to the first floor, Silva said.

She said the custodial staff was also cut this spring -- from three to two employees -- as a result of attrition.

The Wagnalls Memorial Foundation newsletter, which used to be an eight-page newsletter that was mailed to 4,000 people, is now a one-page digest available at the library and online, according to Gruber.

On a positive note, the Wagnalls Memorial Foundation welcomed a new tenant, Pfeifer Funeral Home, on July 1. The funeral home office occupies the foundation's former administrative office space, which was relocated to the library.

Another company, the United McGill Corp., has leased a building on the far end of the Wagnalls property for several years.

Gruber said Wagnalls can use all the support it can get in terms of volunteers and financial contributions.

"Contributions have fallen off in these economic times, but they have been everywhere," Gruber said. "Every business, every nonprofit, every household is monitoring its income and household expenses very closely."

Volunteer and donation opportunities -- which include adopting a magazine subscription and shelving books -- are listed at the Wagnalls Memorial Foundation Web site, www.wagnalls.org.