By Benjamin Lanka, The Journal Gazette

Faced with a looming budget crunch, the Allen County Public Library board Thursday took steps to increase revenues, while its director warned that staffing levels would be trimmed over the coming years.

The board voted to begin charging patrons 5 cents per printed page from the system's hundreds of computers. It will be the first time library patrons will be forced to pay for the service. The board also agreed to open its surface public parking lots in downtown Fort Wayne to the general public, and not just library patrons, but also charge those people for parking.

The library faces a $1.5 million budget shortfall in 2010 because of recently passed property tax caps by the Indiana General Assembly. Library Director Jeff Krull said this will force the library to cut costs wherever possible, especially in personnel, which makes up a large chunk of the library's $17.1 million budget.

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