HAMMOND | Months after closing two branches, the Hammond Public Library still is facing a budget shortfall.
The library may consider increasing late fees to help close the gap, said Paul Taylor, president of the Hammond Public Library Board. Taylor estimated the shortfall at about $150,000.
Taylor said the library is not planning to reopen the E.B. Hayward or Howard branches and confirmed those buildings are listed for sale. Taylor said closing the branches helped the budget, but "it wasn't necessarily enough."
"We're likely to have a shortfall this year," Taylor said. "And we're looking for alternative ways to plug those gaps."
Libraries across Indiana are facing similar budgetary problems because of the state's property tax caps, said Susan Akers, executive director of the Indiana Library Federation.
Akers said the federation may request the General Assembly give libraries the authority to hold referendums to ask for additional funds.
Along with potential fee increases, the Hammond library is exploring fundraising opportunities and the likelihood of obtaining financial support from other governmental agencies, Taylor said.