Archive for the ‘Library Hours’ Category

County budget reductions could mean library closings

March 9, 2010

Over the past month, you may have seen news reports regarding Mecklenburg County’s current budget shortfall, which will need to be made up before June 30, 2010. The Library receives approximately 92% of its funding from Mecklenburg County, and we have been asked to identify a potential reduction of approximately $1.57 million in our FY2010 budget allocation from Mecklenburg County before June 30, 2010. The cuts are one way to close what has grown into a $34 million shortfall in the current Mecklenburg County budget.

This is still a potential, not actual, reduction. However, if this potential reduction becomes a reality, the Library will be compelled to make very difficult decisions about library operations, including:

  • A layoff of a significant percentage of the Library’s workforce;
  • Closing at least four library locations;
  • Significant reductions in hours of operation at all remaining libraries;
  • Further reductions in the books and materials budget.

The potential need to return $1.57 million to Mecklenburg County in the last few months of the current fiscal year has a more severe impact because we are unable to spread the reduction amount over twelve months.

When a similar situation occurred last year, the Library took most of its reduction out of the books and materials budget. We also already experienced a 10% reduction in this fiscal year’s budget, which we addressed by reducing staff pay, reducing benefits, and closing libraries on Sundays during the summer months.

We know that there are those of you who will be interested in helping libraries get through these tough times. The best thing you can do is to continue to be a supporter for libraries. Speak up for libraries wherever you can: in the elevator, with friends and neighbors or at community groups to which you belong. Consider a tax-deductible gift to your library, or remember the library in your estate planning. Even paying overdue fines promptly helps. If you’re interested in giving a financial gift to the Library, please visit the Library’s website.

We anticipate having a better understanding of the likely outcome of this budget situation and the potential for lay-offs within the next few weeks. County departments and agencies recently submitted scenarios for how to cut up to five percent from their budget, and county administrators are weighing which ones to enact. Additionally, the library has been asked to identify 5%, 10%, and 15% reduction scenarios for the next fiscal year, beginning July 1, 2010.    We appreciate your support of libraries, and will continue to keep you informed as we learn more.

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Summer Hours: July 5 – Sept. 6

June 17, 2009

In response to the Board of County Commissioners’ vote June 16 to cut the Library’s funding by 10% for the upcoming fiscal year, the Library is instituting “Summer Hours” beginning Sunday, July 5. All branches will be closed on Sundays through Sunday, September 6, and normal Sunday operations will resume on Sunday, September 13. Since most of our 24 branches already are closed on Sundays, the branches affected by this change are:

We understand that this will be quite a change for some of our customers. Here are some answers to a few of the questions you may have:

Why are we having Summer Hours?
The Library needed to reduce hours of operation to save money. The Library received less funding from Mecklenburg County this year due to the current economic situation.

Are the changes permanent?
No. The changes are for the summer only. Normal Sunday hours will resume September 13. The decision was made to close on Sundays for the summer only because this will have the least impact on the most customers, since school is out of session during this time.

Will we be doing this every summer?
We don’t know. The changes are being made this summer in response to the current economic and budget situation, and it’s too early to say what the situation will be next year.

As always, some library services will continue to be available around-the-clock, including the library’s 24-hour book drops, online account access and catalog searching at www.plcmc.org, and the library’s automated telephone renewal line at (704) 416-7363. We thank you for your understanding!

Sincerely,
The Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County