Friday, April 22, 2011

Proposal to Close 18 of 23 Detroit Branches Sparks Angry Reactions

From 2009.

Angry Detroit library backers sound off. (Detroit News, 4/20/2011)

Excerpt: The Detroit Library Board of Commissioners on Tuesday heard anger and promises to fight a controversial proposal to close most of the system's neighborhood branches.

More than 100 library users and staffers packed a room at the main library on Woodward for the panel's first meeting since a plan was released last week that could close 18 of 23 branches and lay off more than half the system's 333 workers. Administrators say tough choices are necessary because the system faces an $11 million shortfall this year and revenue drop of 20 percent per year until 2015.

"I will not stand for it," said Ashley Matthews, 17, who says she often takes her 2-year-old daughter to the Chaney branch at Grand River and Greenfield, which is on a closure list.
"Can you live with yourselves if you close our schools, close our libraries?"

Commissioners didn't discuss the proposal, saying it was premature. But they passed a resolution that bans users with more than $10 in fines from using computers in hopes of getting more people to pay their fines. Board members are scrutinizing potential closures and didn't say when they'd make a decision. The budget is expected to be approved in May.

"We are in a tough spot, but we will get through it," commissioner Luther Keith said. "We aren't perfect but we are working on solutions."

Related articles:
Few expenses spared in South Wing remodeling of library.  (4/22/2011)
Downward spiral.  (4/16/2011)
Library reduces staff by 20%. (3/4/2011)
Budget woes. (2/5/2011)

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