Thursday, March 18, 2010

Follow library's budget cut meeting live on Twitter (UPDATED)

Posted By on Thu, Mar 18, 2010 at 10:10 AM

Yesterday we shared the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library's bad news: The public library system we all love and adore is facing an immediate $2 million budget cut on top of an already too-tight budget. What that means for our city is that half — yes, half — of our public libraries will close in two weeks and 148 library employees (nearly a third of its staff) will lose their jobs.

The library's Board of Trustees is meeting today at 11:30. That's when they'll decide which branches and employees will get the ax.

You can follow the news as it happens on Twitter. The library's staff is using the #cmlibrary hashtag to consolidate the news. You can also follow the library's Twitter stream @cmlibrary.

From yesterday's post:

Said Director Charles Brown, “The decision to cut library staff and close library locations was extremely difficult. We value the contributions of our exceptional library employees. Losing their jobs in these uncertain economic times we know will place considerable hardships on them and their families. I’m heartbroken for what they face and for what we face as a community with the closure of almost 50% of our libraries. Charlotte Mecklenburg Libraries have been a critical component of the community since 1903. We provide access to self-directed education and enrichment opportunities for all, without regard to age, income, or previous level of educational attainment. We also understand the hardship that Mecklenburg County is facing as a whole. These are difficult times. Charlotte Mecklenburg libraries haven’t seen such large-scale reductions since the Great Depression when it had to close its doors completely”

The library will use its Reduction in Force (RIF) policy to determine layoffs. Library closings will be made based on the overall cost of library operations, usage levels, proximity to other branches and library size.

In addition to fewer locations, hours and staff, library customers will notice other budget impacts, including less frequent building maintenance, more limited technology resources, and longer wait times for books and other materials.

Read the rest of the library's press release here.

UPDATE:

Thanks to Twitter (and special thanks to @cmlibrary and @ericfraz) , we now know the list of libraries that will close in two weeks: Beattie's Ford, Belmont, Cornelius, Hickory Grove, Myers Park, Carmel, Check-it Outlet, Morrison, Mint Hill, Independence Regional, Scaleybark, Sugar Creek.

This is a sad day for Charlotte-Mecklenburg.

With that, I challenge you to meet or beat my $100 donation to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library. Can't donate? Volunteer. There are tons of volunteer opportunities to choose from. Check it out.

Then, contact the Mecklenburg County Commissioners on behalf of the library here: countycommissioners@mecklenburgcountync.gov.

On Facebook: $2 million in one week

Further reading: Budget shortfall means big cuts for Mecklenburg County

Watch county Manager Harry Jones discuss "the new normal."

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