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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Sad Cuts: Multnomah County Libraries Plan to Close on Mondays Starting in July

Posted by Sarah Mirk on Tue, Feb 21, 2012 at 11:59 AM

Closing every Monday, cutting 43 staff, slicing open hours by 22 percent, buying 50 percent fewer movies. These are the grim budget cuts proposed by the second busiest library system in the nation, Multnomah County Library.

Proposed budget are due to the county chair's office today and the library's pitch lays out $6.5 million in cuts that, if approved, would go into effect this August. The library, along with the rest of the county, is facing a serious budget gap and is digging up money in various ways: Asking voters to renew a three-year 89 cent library levy this May, putting a library district on the ballot in the fall, and backfilling with $4 million from reserves and $10 million from the county's one-time funding pot. Even if the library district measure passes, the new money wouldn't kick in until July of 2013. If they levy and the library district fail, well... "most libraries will close," wrote Library Director Valley Oehlke in an email to staff.

If the levy passes as expected and the county approves the library's proposed budget, the hours for Portland libraries would be reduced from 53-57 hours a week to 44. Here are the proposed open hours:

Sunday 12-5
Monday closed
Tuesday 11-8
Wednesday 11-8
Thursday 10-5
Friday 10-5
Saturday 10-5

Library Director Oehlke writes that demand for library services will not decrease with the reduced hours, more people will just be squeezed into using the library during less time.

UPDATE: Oh hey, it's a well-timed "I Love the Library!" rally on March 13th.

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