STOCKTON, CA - Stockton's Community Services Department got much needed outside help to save summer programs and other services as it looks to shed more costs in the new budget proposal.
"It's never been this bad," department's deputy director Alfonso Cruz said.
Cruz said the department is in its fifth year of budget cuts.
"We've had to think outside of the box, be strategic about how we look to operate the centers," Cruz said.
According to city librarian Chris Freeman, the libraries had a two-thirds reduction in hours and lost more than half of their staffs.
"Five years ago, we had 109 employees," Freeman said. "Today, we have fewer than 50."
But the libraries and community services have a growing group of volunteers stepping up to help keep programs on the schedule.
High School senior Laura Costello volunteered to organize a new community library after the Fair Oaks branch closed last year.
"It makes me