Library learns of $2 million cut in current budget year


On Tuesday, March 16, the Library learned that Mecklenburg County would be reducing the Library’s funding for Fiscal Year 2010 by 6.3 percent, or $2 million dollars, before June 30, 2010.

To absorb a $2 million reduction in such a short period of time, the Library will need to lay off at least 140 employees, resulting in the closure of at least twelve Library locations, pending final library board approval. The Library Board of Trustees will consider these options at their regular meeting on Thursday, March 18 at 12 p.m.

As soon as possible after that meeting, the Library will announce which library locations will be closed. Once the decision has been made to close locations, it will take approximately two weeks to complete the closing.

Read the full story in a recent e-news update and find out what you can do.

Learn more about Library funding  on our Budget Information page and sign up to receive the latest news via e-mail.


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13 Responses to “Library learns of $2 million cut in current budget year”

  1. michael king Says:

    How about reducing the staff and hours, and making a public appeal for volunteers to help staff the branches that would otherwise be closed?

  2. Sarah Poole Says:

    Dear Michael,

    Thank you for your thoughtful question.

    The Library board will be looking at all possible options in its Thursday meeting. The significant cuts will likely not only mean reducing staff and hours, but also closing many locations. These cuts come on the heels of on the heels of a $4 million reduction in county funds since January 2009.

    The Library’s volunteer coordinator is also developing a plan for how our dedicated – and much appreciated – library volunteer base can best be leveraged during these critical times. We are grateful for those who continue to express interest in helping the library by volunteering, and we continue to accept applications for new volunteers at so that our pool of available volunteers can continue to grow.

    Please understand that because library volunteers work in public facilities where children are present, we must conduct criminal background checks on all applicants.

    We appreciate your continued support and advocacy as we navigate these challenging times.

  3. Michael Says:

    I applied. 🙂

    I guess it is too late to make phone calls to try and seek other solutions. 😦

  4. Sarah Poole Says:

    Thanks, Michael! It’s never to late to make phone calls and advocate on behalf of the people who most need libraries to remain an accessible resource in this community. Libraries are looking at even deeper cuts for next fiscal year, which starts July 1.

  5. Petra M Says:

    The library system will close the following locations:

    Beatties Ford
    Check It Out
    Hickory Grove
    Independence Regional
    Morrison Regional
    Mint Hill
    Myers Park
    Sugar Creek

    Read more:

  6. Matthew Says:

    I sent this question to J Wheatley, who sent out the Budget newsletter today… in case she doesn’t respond at that address, my question was:

    What happens to all of the items in your account that are pending arrival at the affected branches, or those you have on hold at branches set to close? Are they sent to the nearest library, or are the holds automatically deleted from your account?

  7. Sarah Poole Says:

    Hi Matthew,
    Great question, and I literally just received the answer from the managers who have been thoughtfully making the many logistical decisions necessary to close 12 branches. Here is the procedure that we’ll implement for holds:

    – Holds will NOT be automatically deleted from anyone’s account, but please bear with us as staff make the shifts.

    – Beginning April 3, pending holds will be shifted to the nearest library. Those libraries are as follows:

    From branch >>>> To branch
    Belmont Center >> Plaza Midwood
    Beatties Ford >> Freedom
    Carmel >>South County
    Checkit Outlet >> Main Library
    Cornelius >> North County
    Hickory Grove >> University City
    Independence >> Matthews
    Mint Hill >> Matthews
    Morrison >> South County
    Myers Park >> Plaza Midwood
    Scaleybark >> West Boulevard
    Sugar Creek >> University City

    – Beginning tomorrow, customers will not be able to select the 12 libraries that are closing as pick up locations for holds they are placing. They will only be able to select one of the remaining branches.

    I hope this helps. There are many more logistical details to work out, and we appreciate everyone’s patience. We will be doing our best to continue providing the best possible service to the community, but we acknowledge that it will be challenging with fewer employees and locations. Thank you as always for your support Matthew.

  8. Matthew Says:

    Thanks for the quick reply Sarah… I know it has to be a confusing day for everyone working at CML. Please continue keeping us up to date via the blog on any and all related information. After submitting my question, I realized I could have asked the bigger question, which is “what will happen to all the materials currently housed at the closed branches?”… it’d certainly be much harder to move ALL of them to new branches, as there isn’t enough space to house it all. But I’m sure that’s one of the big things that will be decided soon.

  9. Mary Lee Says:

    Isn’t the county getting ready to spend $12 million on new roll out recycle bins? Could that plan be put on hold until the economy is more stable and the funds used to save some of our library branches?

  10. Paul Wohlfeil Says:

    Just a few libraries in a broad area of Charlotte is unacceptable. My wife and I are among many with disabilities, limited transportation/mobility, and limited resources. Creating more hardship for those who need the resources that the “local” library provides is a high priority. Those with private libraries, multiple cars, unlimited funds, computers with internet, etc. can hardly appreciate how large populations of our community go to the library for access to newspapers, computers, email, internet, research, job search, and safe environments to read, study and relax. Where will you send these individuals?

    We live a 15 minute bus ride away from the new Hickory Grove Library. It will take us 45 minutes on 2 buses to access the Plaza Midwood Library once the 6-week old lHickory Grove Library is closed. Please consider other cost-saving alternatives and keep the libraries open!

  11. Steve Says:

    Children holding lemonade stand at 3:30 today (Sat 3/20) at corner of Wellesley and Hastings (across from Queens College)…all proceeds go to the Library…come one come all!

  12. Sarah Poole Says:

    Matthew, yes it’s going to be a logistical challenge (to say the least) to close 12 libraries, especially since we only learned of the full dollar amount of the cuts on Tuesday. Many books will be relocated, but some will, sadly, need to be sold to generate revenue. There is a process for selecting books to be removed from our collection, but we are now needing to do it on a very aggressive basis. We are downsizing on a massive scale.

    Hi Mary, we really appreciate your support of libraries. You asked about the recycle bins, so I’ll answer your question (that’s what we do here at libraries, after all. :-).) The new recycling plan and bins are projected to save the City of Charlotte $12 million dollars over the next five years because the larger bins will allow workers to pick up recycling every 2 weeks, instead of weekly, and there are other cost-saving benefits in the new program that outweigh the initial cost of the bins. Unfortunately, these cost savings won’t save libraries because recycling is funded by the City of Charlotte and libraries are founded by Mecklenburg County. They are separate. You can read more about the recycling plan here. Since the announcement of the closures, though, folks everywhere — including our wonderful Friends of the Library president Harriet Smith — have been working nonstop to try and fundraise the $2 million needed to keep libraries open — more info at Small amounts will help, but we’re really hoping for a few donors who have the means to give larger gifts. We also desperately need advocacy because next year we’re facing with even bigger cuts. Let your County Commissioners know you value libraries as an educational resource in the community.

    Steve, I am so happy to see all the children out at lemonade stands and cookie sales to support the library. If you have any pictures to share, post them on Flickr or Photobucket and I’ll link to them on my next post. 🙂

  13. Michael Says:

    Please do not sell your books at the normal book sale prices. Start at a higher price and let us help raise funds this way.

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