Public hearing on branch library closure and budget Sept. 9

budgetIf the City budget is approved as it stands now, one library will be closed when the new Fiscal Year begins Oct. 1 and the hours will not be increased at the Main Library.

The City Council Finance Committee in August voted not to approve the mayor’s proposal to increase hours at the Main Library, and approved the closure of the Maxville Branch Library. Use of the Maxville Branch Library continues to fallMaxvilleLibrary990x743 far below the next lowest performing location, so the Board of Library Trustees proposed closing it as part of a larger plan to open more hours of service at the Main Library and regional libraries, and providing the Maxville area with a self-service library “vending machine” for checking out books and other materials.

Unfortunately, the Finance Committee identified the closure as a “stand-alone” item, and voted to close the library entirely without also moving the resources to other locations in the library system as was recommended by the board or funding a self-service option.  The closure of the library will result in the elimination of two staff positions. In addition, an additional $500,000 in library materials included in the mayor’s budget proposal was not approved by the committee.

On Sept. 3, the Finance Committee will continue budget discussions at which time we expect the library capital projects to be considered.  In July the mayor proposed a budget with funding for three library-related capital projects; renovation of the Main Library’s Promenade space to include adequate kitchen equipment, upgrades to the children’s area at the Webb Wesconnett Regional Library, and the redesign of a section of the Main Library’s second floor to accommodate collaborative work spaces. These requests may be cut as the council works to finalize the overall City budget.

The first public hearing on the budget will be Sept. 9 at the City Council meeting.  We expect this also will serve as the public hearing required for the closure of a public library.  The final vote on the city budget is slated for the City Council meeting Sept. 23. All council meetings offer an opportunity for public comment. Simply fill out a speaker’s card before the meeting begins and you will be allotted three minutes to speak directly to the council. You may also contact city council members via e-mail or phone. Contact information is available here.




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