I sympathize with the board in the difficult task of dealing with budget cuts. I hope that measures such as cutting hours and services will be temporary and we will find ways to restore these in the long term, starting in a year or so.

I would also like to urge the library to consider the following option for cutting some costs associated with running the computer services which the library provides. I do not know how much the library is currently spending to make Microsoft Office available on these computers but it is not necessary to spend public money on proprietary software, particularly for something like MS Office for which a free and robust alternative exists. It would serve the public to learn about this alternative, which they could continue using at home, thus saving personally as well. This alternative is Open Office which contains all the same applications and allows for saving files in a form that is compatible with the Microsoft versions and therefore can be opened on a machine using those programs. Since anyone can freely download Open Office from their website, it should not actually be necessary to save a file in the Microsoft format, but the option is there for people who wish to do so.

By installing Open Office on the library PCs that are available for public use, the library would help more users be aware of an participate in the Free / Open Source community which promotes responsible, just and equitable knowledge sharing, which is at the heart of the mission of the library itself. If the library went one step further and discontinued its subscription to Microsoft and provided Open Office instead, it could save money which is acutely needed elsewhere in the library budget.

Thank you for your consideration.