ST. CHARLES COUNTY–Branches on the possible shutdown list include the McClay library in St. Charles, Deer Run in O’Fallon and Kisker Road near Weldon Springs.

A lot of people are worked up about this on social media, starting campaigns to try to save the libraries.

This comes after a four-hour special meeting on Friday. CEO Jason Kuhl gave a more than 30-minute presentation.

The actual meeting lasted for about four hours, during which Kuhl presented a fresh proposal from the St. Charles County Library District and emphasized the system’s financial difficulties.

Our partners at The Post-Dispatch report that they are shutting down partially because of the rising costs of electronic books and a streaming platform heavily used by patrons.

He stated that the library spent nothing on streaming in 2015. But it now spends $50–60,000 a month to meet user demand.

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“In a year or two without changes, we will be spending more to keep the doors open than we are collecting in revenue,” Kuhl said.

Kuhl also mentioned that closing the branches and reducing staff would allow the district to increase pay for the remaining employees.

He noted employees are paid nearly 19% less than people in similar positions in the St. Louis metro area, making it hard to retain and attract workers.

The proposal includes closing the Kisker Road and McClay branches by June 30.

While the Deer Run branch would remain open until early next year, when renovations at the Middendorf Kredell branch in O’Fallon are completed.

Deer Run would then be converted into a warehouse, saving the district $100,000 a year.

Despite the financial rationale, the plan faced a lot of opposition at a packed meeting in O’Fallon on Friday.

Some people are saying they feel blindsided, urging the board to delay the vote and seek public input. There were also calls for a potential tax hike to prevent the cuts, with some people even asking for a ballot measure to let voters decide.

The board voted to postpone the decision until mid-June to allow for more public input and consideration of other ideas.

The next regular meeting is Tuesday at 7 p.m. There is a public comment portion on the agenda.