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Library hosts global guests

Funding is among the topics covered during the sit-down.

Worldly, well-read and multilingual, they came to Bainbridge from faraway corners of the globe.

Then, after talking shop, library leaders from eight different countries sprawled on the carpet of the Bainbridge Public Library to tend to more important business: reading to island tots.

The group’s stop on the island, organized by the nonprofit World Affairs Council, was part of a tour that aimed to connect local library professionals with those from abroad.

“It was delightful talking with them,” said Bainbridge Public Library branch manager Cindy Harrison.

Along with comparing programs, the librarians discussed their respective funding challenges.

The Kitsap Regional Library system, of which Bainbridge is a part, is still considering how to respond to last month’s failed levy lid lift. Harrison said that the system will face a $2.1 million shortfall in 2008.

KRL Directors are continuing to mull options, including going back to voters. A decision on how to proceed could come in the next week.

For now, the Bainbridge branch, like all others in the system, is preparing for the shortfall.

Harrison doesn’t anticipate cutbacks of any current programs or services, but said some planned additions – like downloadable audio books – have been put on hold indefinitely. Hiring and capital projects also have stalled.

On Monday, Harrison preferred to focus on the positives, like story time with her international guests.

“It just warms the cockles of your heart,” she said of the scene.

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