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Library Board votes to keep libraries open, lay-off fewer staff but cut hours and services

The Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Board of Trustees voted today to keep open all 24 library locations, in one of three scenarios presented to them in today's board meeting. As part of the scenario voted on by the board, fewer Library staff will face layoffs, and service will be maintained at all 24 locations; but the public will face tradeoffs in hours of operation and services.

Last week, the board voted to close 12 libraries and lay off 148 staff by April 3, in order to comply with Mecklenburg County’s request to cut 6 percent, or $2 million, from current fiscal year funding. An outcry of public support soon prompted the board to look at alternate scenarios.

In the scenario chosen today, all libraries will be open five days per week at eight hours per day. Specific hours of operation will be released soon and will go into effect April 5. In addition, library customers will see sharp reductions in library services including books and other materials, storytimes, classes for job seekers, teens and adults. For details on each of the scenarios the board considered, visit this link.

In the new scenario, the number of laid-off staff will be reduced from 148 to 82-84 full time equivalents (FTEs). Remaining staff will have a 5 to 20 percent reduction in pay, dependent upon salary level. Senior Library Officials are working as quickly as possible to identify those employees whose termination will be rescinded under this new scenario. As soon as that information is compiled, staff members who will be retained will be notified.

Fundraising efforts continue to be successful and larger groups — such as churches, businesses and private citizens —continue to mobilize. The ongoing fundraising efforts will be specifically used to restore library services that have been reduced due to the cut. Those interested in donating can still contribute in person at their local library, or at
www.cmlibrary.org/donatenow

Administrators caution that while this option addresses the $2 million dollar deficit in this fiscal year, the new scenario does not address the financial concerns around the corner for FY 2011. Mecklenburg County officials offered early estimates that next year’s cuts could reduce the library’s county budget by up to 50 percent.

For more information about the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library budget, visit our website at www.cmlibrary.org. Also look for the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library on Facebook and Twitter


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