A United Way official will join the Spokane Public Library Board of Trustees in time to decide how to deal with major budget cuts proposed by Mayor Mary Verner.
The Spokane City Council on Tuesday unanimously appointed Janice Marich, the vice president of community relations for Spokane County United Way, to the city’s library board for a five-year term.
Marich, 62, said in an interview Tuesday evening that she is open to “all the options” for solving the budget problem.
“What’s really important to me is keeping the resources available to as many people as possible,” said Marich, whose mother worked as a librarian in McKinleyville, Calif.
The five-member board sets library policy and determines how to spend money set aside for libraries by the City Council. Marich was nominated for the job by Verner.
Although use of the city’s libraries continues to increase, Verner announced last month her intention to cut the library budget twice as much as the 2.85 percent cut she proposed in most city departments.
Library officials say that could mean one of the system’s neighborhood branches may have to close. Trustees have been reluctant to close branches when faced with past shortfalls and have instead cut hours at all six locations.
An examination last year of libraries in the 15 largest cities in Washington found that Spokane’s main branch was open less than the main branches in each of those cities.
Before joining the United Way, Marich was the vice president of community relations for Empire Health Services, which used to own Deaconess Medical Center.
Marich replaces Cheryl Fleming, whose term expired in March.