Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Bad news for bibliophiles

Posted By on Tue, Mar 2, 2010 at 10:31 AM

This sucks. Library officials are saying they may have to close up to four Charlotte-area libraries. I know in my community (Mountain Island Lake, in northwest Charlotte), our library is an important oasis for job seekers, parents, children, the elderly ... me. I can only imagine every library branch is as important to its respective community. Here's hoping county officials can find a way to keep our libraries open.

Charlotte Mecklenburg Library officials say county budget cuts might force the system to close at least four branches in the coming months, while reducing hours at others.

Library officials haven’t yet determined what branches could close, but said any affected branch likely would remain shut down into the next budget year as well. Branches could close on Sundays and be open for fewer hours the rest of the week.

The library system has 24 branches, and officials said any locations that closed would be a community or neighborhood branch. But larger, regional branches wouldn’t be considered.

Mecklenburg director Charles Brown said the branch changes would be a worse-case scenario, and assumes the county requires the system to cut five percent, or $1.56 million, from its budget for the year ending in June. He said officials have frozen some vacant positions, and would cut its materials, information technology and maintenance budgets first. Still, he said any cuts above $300,000 would require staff layoffs.

It isn’t yet known how deep the library cuts will need to be.

Read the rest of this Charlotte Observer article, by April Bethea, here.

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