City's budget shortfall means library cuts

April 1, 2011 12:13:15 PM PDT
The city's library director will outline a plan to deal with $10 million in cuts. Already, the constables and police departments have had to trim their budgets and now, it's the library's turn. An estimated $10 million is expected to be cut from the Houston public library's budget this fiscal year. This will likely mean big changes not only for library patrons, but also for library employees.

According to published reports, today the Houston Public Library will have to reveal its plans to deal with the budget axe, which could mean staff layoffs and closing some of the 42 library locations.

Here is what it boils down to. The library's 2012 budget is expected to be an estimated $27 million, about $10 million less than this year's budget.

Houston libraries are not new to cuts. Last year, the system was forced to axe $2.2 million in its budget and reduce its service of hours per week. Library materials were also downsized.

"These are things that we need. I'm not sure what other areas could be cut, you know, so that these wouldn't have to be, but I think it's going to be painful for Houston," said library patron Karen Kane.

Llibrary usage is up by 13 percent. More people are using computers and the Internet.

Library patrons and workers are not taking this lying down. In fact, we're told on April 13, there will be a rally on the steps of the state Capitol demanding that legislators restore funding and save their libraries.

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