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Library slashes hours, to close main branch on Thursdays

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The Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library will close the Central Library on Thursdays and reduce hours at all branches by a collective 26 percent to help reduce a projected $4 million revenue shortfall next year, it announced Tuesday.

The cutback in hours, effective Oct. 3, should help save about $1.5 million and keep all branches open in 2011, library officials said.

“The new schedule is directly responsive to the public’s call for keeping libraries open while we work to achieve the necessary savings to sustain services,” Library CEO Laura Bramble said in a written statement.

Hours of service are staggered so patrons will have a close alternative if their typical branch is closed.

All locations will be open Monday through Thursday, except the downtown Central Library, which will be closed on Thursdays.

Branches will be closed either on Fridays or Saturdays, with a majority open on Saturdays.

Sunday library services will be available at the Glendale, Lawrence, Nora, Pike, Southport, Warren and Wayne branches, as well as Central Library and the InfoZone at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.

Hours for the InfoZone and Flanner House branch at the Flanner House Community Center will remain the same.

The library system attributes its revenue shortfall to property-tax caps and lower-than-anticipated property-tax collections. It expects to achieve more savings from a $1 million reduction in the library’s books-and-materials budget, as well as cuts in printing, postage, utilities and data-communications costs.

Also, higher fees for such penalties as failing to pick up held books and for replacing library cards could result in a modest revenue bump, the library said.

The library system's new schedule is available here.

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  • Also, You Misstated My Comments
    Ted, I have read a few hypocritical remarks on this website, but none of them have come from me. Also, since you seem to love the Dewey Decimal System, you would benefit from using it to find a dictionary and looking up the word "hypocrite," since you are using the word incorrectly.

    First, you misstated my comments. I never wrote anything about repeating bad mistakes. You and I simply disagree about what constitutes a mistake, and just because you disagree with me that does not make me a hypocrite (but, it does show your immaturity by showing you cannot engage in a reasoned argument with another person without baseless name-calling). I believe the purposes of taxation is to provide a reasonable level of public services, not to fund private enterprises of any sort, and especially not to pay for privately owned sports teams like the Colts or Pacers. So, I find nothing inconsistent about saying it is a mistake to give more money (or ANY money) to privately-owned sports teams, but not a mistake to give more money to a Library system, which is primarily suffering from lower tax revenues due to the recession and property tax caps, and not necessarily because its operating expenses have increased.

    Second, I never said the Library didn't need to make changes. But, the fact is that it is making changes, including laying off staff, reducing expenditures on acquisitions of new books and supplies, and cutting back operating hours. I think the Library has done far more than it should have to do to bring down costs, and now the City-County Council and the Mayor need to do their part, which means either taking funds from somewhere else, such as taking back some of the money recently allocated to the Pacers, or supporting the Library's shortfall levy appeal, and then figuring out a way to get more funding to the Library in next year's budget, and if that requires increasing the county income tax, so be it.

    Second,
  • Ted, Nice Try, But I'm A Privately Employed Individual
    Sorry Ted, I hate to ruin your anti-government fantasies, but I am a privately employed accountant who only serves private clients (no government work).

    So, I guess that means you will have to address the substance of my comments, rather than trying to throw out distractions.
  • Typical....
    Chris, which branch do you work at?

    I love reading your posts where out of one side of your mouth you say "the bad decisions of the past (ie construction, Glendale) have nothing to do with current condtions" , and then you say out of the other side of your mouth "we made other bad decisions in the past (ie Pacers, Colts), come on, let's make some more"...you are a hypocrite.

    No matter how you make your case, the reality is that the Library doesn't have the operating funds, and needs to make changes. Good for them. Maybe now other city officials can look to them and have the courage to make the tough choices that are coming.

    Too bad you can't apply your knowledge of the Dewey Decimal System to another career.
    • Learn the Facts
      Jonathan, if you are going to comment on an article, then learn the facts beforehand. Part of the Library's budget plan includes laying off 35-40 individuals. Of course, please remind me of the layoffs the Pacers agreed to before milking the city for $10.5 million a year IN ADDITION to the huge subsidies they already receive? Oh yes, that's right, only the Library, an actual public agency, rather than a private business owned by a billionaire, is expected to make layoffs before asking for additional public funds.

      It would seem the only "elephant" that is being ignored happens to be the one sitting on your head and cutting off the blood flow to your brain.
      • The "L" word
        Layoffs. The 1.2 million dollar elephant the library forgets to mention taxpaying staff are contributing.
        • Wow
          I agree with some of the Sunday closing. Not that long ago, the only library open on Sundays was the Central Library. But to close your "anchor" library on a Thursday? How silly. Closing others on Friday? One of the few positive places to spend time with kids and we have to close. Sad. And the regime who helped put the libraries in the red isn't even around to blame.
        • Wrong Closing
          Rather than close the libraries we should close the City County Building. Make Ballard pick up trash or other meaningful work at least one day a week.

          Closing the libraries is much like deciding to close the hospitals one day a week to cut costs. But then the powers that be, don't think libraries are very important. There is something wrong with giving away tens of millions of dollars to sport organizations worth hundreds of millions of dollars, but telling our kids and their parents there is no place in our society for libraries, schools, education. Go figure. But then Ballard has the deep pockets of business concerns. Maybe he is setting up to selling the library to a foreign corporation? Then tell us all how much money we are saving.
        • Spend Less
          The issue here is to spend less, not grab a bigger piece of the tax revenue.(ie..county option income tax) Remember, it's shrinking, and there isn't enough to support the spending at current levels. Also, while I am not supportive of our cash strapped city giving money to millionaires (Pacers and Colts), you can't justify more bad decisions because we made other bad decisions in the past. So the "Good News" is not that the library is closing on Thursdays, but rather that the leadership had the common sense to make a tough decision, and live within thier means.

          Looks like the homeless and the college students will need to find some other place to hang out on Thursdays....
        • Cutting Services Is NEVER Good News
          Ted, again, the people who approved the downtown library construction, have long, long been out of public office, so your comments make little sense. More importantly, how is any government's operating budget running in the red and important government services, "good news?" You have a very perverse idea of "good news." What would be good news would be for the Library to get a cut of the county income tax, like just about every other library system in the state. In the meantime, it would be good news for the city to discover money to help the Library through its crisis just like the city always seems to discover money when the Pacers or Colts come begging for public funds.
          • Learn Your History
            IndyBooster, the poster from San Francisco did NOT put-down Indianapolis. In fact, if you had bothered to read the post, you would have seen it was generally very complimentary of Indianapolis. Also, before you march around calling California "the original debtor state," perhaps, you should review the state history of Indiana. Look up the Indiana's Mammoth Internal Improvement Act of 1836 and then read about how the state was financial ruined the following year from racking up too much debt to fund spending. The grim financial crisis continued, even after massive tax hikes, and Indiana was finally forced to officially declare itself insolvent in 1845 and tell its creditors it would not repay its debts, which ruined the state's credit for the following 20 years, even though the state eventually reach a settlement with its creditors.
          • San Fran put us down?!
            Nice post from Sanfranciscan - I can't believe someone from California - the original debtor state - is lecturing us on how to spend money. But the idea that the City has lost its sense of priorities is certainly true.
            • WTF, Get Your Facts Straight
              The construction debacle, while unfortunate, has ZERO to do with the current operating budget deficit. First, the new library was approved in 2001--all under different management and directors--and completed in 2007. Most of the overrun was recovered through litigation and insurance payments, and the capital budget is legally separate from the operating budget. The operating budget defict results from greatly decreased revenue due to the recession and the state instituted property tax caps. These two issues are challenging most units of local government acrossIndiana, as most of them rely on property taxes as their primary source of revenue, and so many local government units are currently dealing with operating deficits, and the situtation is not unique to the Library. However, the Indianapolis library system does face an additional burden in that it is pretty much the only library system in the state which does not get a share of the county option income tax.
            • This is good news....
              I for one think this is good news. I'm sad to see that the library is in this situation, but at least they are dealing with the problem straight up. They don't have the money, so they have to cut services. Trust me, this is what we need done in many other areas of government. Stop spending, balance the budget, and get back on track. Don't spend more than you have.

              That being said, this is a little like the neighbor who bought the 72" plasma TV and can't afford the cable bill. When you look at the insane amount of money spent on the "monument to ego" downtown, and the stupid decision to move out of Broad Ripple Park and into Glendale mall, it makes you realize that these people should never be left to make another decision involving the spending of my tax dollars.
              • Fools!
                When visiting your city we always go to your beautiful central library. Libraries are an essential and highly beneficial public service. All that lip service about kids not being educated, having nothing to do after school, etc. Oh, yeah, I forgot, in your city full of brainiacs, one can always enjoy a luxury box courtesy of the taxpaying public at a Pacers or Colts game in the sports palaces you fools publicly paid for. And you never even get to see any of the teams' books. Indy, you've been fleeced and fleeced for years and now your moron government wants to sell your parking meters for 50 years. We've got a bridge out here we can sell you -- it's a major league bridge, too, so I'm sure some Indy-booster will rise to the bait! By the way, we really enjoy indianapolis and tell others that, too. It's just your spending priorities are whacko.
              • Truly Sad Thing
                What is truly sad, though, is if you asked the average Joe on the street if they would rather have the Pacers or libraries, the honest answer would be the Pacers. So I guess, in a tragic sort of way, the City officials are spending the public money in accordance with their wishes.
              • Priorities
                How sad. But these types of decisions are being made all over the country.

                In deciding how to spend public money, there are only four things voters care about -- public safety (police, fire, EMS), public works (keeping the streets clean, in good repair and the garbage picked up), education (schools and libraries) and recreation (parks). I'm not 100% sure the Pacers are recreation, but I am sure that if the city fathers went carefully through the budget they would find more than $1.5 million needed to keep the branches open.
              • WTF?
                Budget overruns--$50+ million--costly delays, cracked concrete support columns and lawsuits were amongst the numerous problems troubling the Indianapolis Central Library renovation and addition. Now they don't have enough money to stay open 7-days-a-week. Now, their problems plague the rest of the system.

                Who didn't see this coming
                • fuzzy math
                  Let me get this straight. We gave $10 to Pacers and no one goes to those games but the Libraries are reducing hours to save $1.5 million? $10 million vs $1.5 millionâ?¦$10 vs $1.50â?¦$1 vs 15 cents? And my family goes to the library more than to Conseco!
                • Puzzled
                  I don't understand how closing Thursdays and reducing hours without getting rid of staff is going to save the library all this money, certainly the utility bills are not that high.
                • But hey,.....
                  ....the Pacers are staying!!!!
                • What?
                  I'm all for conciseness, but what exactly is a joke?
                • Wow
                  What a joke.

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