Mayor Greg Ballard is committed to keeping open six library branches that the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library might
close because of budget constraints.
Details of a plan to assist the library system have yet to emerge, but the city is pledging its support, city spokesman Robert Vane said Wednesday morning, as residents express concerns about the potential closures.
The library system held a public forum on Monday and another is set for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Library Services Center, 2450 N. Meridian St. The library board is expected to make a decision next month.
"The mayor has no appointments to the library board, and we have no fiscal authority," Vane said. "But the mayor has said that these libraries are a vital part of our neighborhoods. He has pledged this administration's support to keep them open."
Closing the Glendale, Brightwood, Flanner House, Fountain Square, Spades Park and West Indianapolis branches in 2012 could help turn a $1.5 million library-system deficit into a $220,896 surplus by 2014, library officials say.
The closings would come on top of several other cost-saving measures, including cutting hours for all staff members and raising fees. Under all scenarios, the library staff is proposing to cut its work week to 37.5 hours, resulting in a 6.25-percent pay cut. The library system would also start charging for the use of study and meeting rooms, and raise to $5 the fee for cancelled holds and failure-to-pick-up holds.
The library is cutting costs because expects to lose 8 percent of its annual revenue to property-tax caps. In 2010, the library expects to see about $36 million in revenue and has budgeted more than $40 million in expenses. Revenue is expected to drop to about $32 million next year and return to about $34 million by 2014.
Although the library has been in cost-cutting mode for several years, it has been drawing on reserves. If the library doesn't bring expenses in line with revenue, the budget gap is expected to grow to $7.3 million by 2014.