Downtown library hours may be cut

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June 30, 2003 // UPDATED 10:51 am - April 30, 2007
By: Bob Gilbert
Bob Gilbert

The interim Downtown Central Library could be open as little as 35 hours a week, or as much as 48 hours, depending on three Minneapolis Library Board budget-cutting scenarios.

The library board is in the midst of public meetings asking the public about how to best close a $4.5 million 2004 budget deficit. The board has presented three scenarios:

  • Scenario A would keep the Central Library, 250 Marquette Ave., open 48 hours a week, but cuts reference services, technology support, collection development and building maintenance to a minimum. Funding for bilingual outreach, homework help, summer reading and teen and early literacy initiatives would be eliminated. All community libraries would remain open, but for four days a week for a total of 28 hours.

  • Scenario B cuts Central Library hours to 35 per week but retains adequate staffing and current programs. This scenario reduces the city's community libraries from 14 to nine, with Webber Park, Northeast, Southeast, Roosevelt and either Walker or Linden Hills libraries closed. The remaining community libraries would be open 37.5 hours a week with adequate staffing. Funding for bilingual outreach, homework help, summer reading and teen and early literacy initiatives is maintained.

  • Scenario C keeps the Central Library open 44 hours a week with adequate staff and current programs. Community libraries are open 22 to 48 hours a week on different days with varying staffing levels. Roosevelt, Southeast and Webber Park community libraries would be closed.

    In each scenario, administration is cut between $200,000 and $250,000; five positions are cut, wages are frozen and travel eliminated.

    "There will perhaps be compromises between the scenarios put in place, but none of these scenarios are good," said Ann Christensen, who is in charge of community libraries. "Any way we look at it, we are going to be losing staff and cutting hours because it is the only way we can make up for the deficit."

    Future meetings, all 7-9 p.m., are:

    Monday, June 30 -- Senior Center, 1801 Central Avenue N.E.

    Tuesday, July 15 -- North Regional Community Library, 1315 Lowry Ave. N.

    Wednesday, July 16 -- East Lake Community Library, 2727 E. Lake St.

    Those unable to attend can e-mail their comments to askus@mplib.org.