Thursday, March 25, 2010

Follow-up on Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Board Vote

Charlotte Mecklenburg Library
Link to March 25 Charlotte Observer article, "Library branches safe, but closings, cuts likely soon".

Excerpt:     Public outrage at plans to close half of Mecklenburg County's public libraries has spared 12 branches from closing and helped preserve about 65 library staffers' jobs - temporarily. Cuts that come when the new county budget year starts in July, though, will likely involve closing libraries and more layoffs.

But it felt like victory of a sort when the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library Board unanimously voted Wednesday to change plans. Instead of closing 12 of 24 branches and laying off 148 employees, all branches will remain open but with reduced hours and days. Only 82 to 84 staff will lose jobs. Others take pay cuts. Programs such as story hours, job-seekers' classes and book clubs will be cut significantly.

Last Thursday's decision to close 12 branches - after the library was told to trim $2 million in spending for the rest of the budget year - saddened and outraged hundreds of county residents. A fundraising campaign quickly arose, bringing in more than $200,000 by Wednesday. But the library expects to have to cut as much as $17 million for the 2010-11 fiscal year.

It's a bit puzzling that the library board and administrators didn't opt last week for the scenario they adopted Wednesday. Why not try to preserve access and jobs whenever possible?

Library Director Charles Brown said they aimed to preserve high-quality service, but at fewer branches.

Related articles:
Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Board votes to keep all branches open.  (3/24/2010)
Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Board presented with 2 budget-cutting alternatives.  (3/24/2010)
More and bigger cuts looming on horizon. (3/23/2010)
Charlotte Mecklenburg Library System Rethinks Closings. (3/22/2010)
A New Day is Dawning in Charlotte/Mecklenburg County. (3/21/2010)

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