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Marion County library may close six branches

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The Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library may decide to close six of the the system's 22 branches in an effort to close a widening budget gap.

Library CEO Laura Bramble presented several options Thursday afternoon to the finance committee of the library board of trustees. The options range from keeping open the branches while reducing their hours to closing two, four or six branches while keeping normal hours at remaining locations.

The most drastic option would mean closing the following branches: Glendale, Brightwood, Flanner House, Fountain Square, Spades Park and West Indianapolis in 2011 and 2012.

The closings would mean cutting 35 to 55 full-time equivalent staff members.

Only the most drastic scenario, however, would eliminate the budget deficit. By closing six branches, the library could have a $220,896 surplus by 2014.

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 it will lose 8 percent of its annual revenue to 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, spokesman Jon Barnes said. If the library doesn't bring expenses in line with revenue, the budget gap will be $7.3 million by 2014.

The library plans to hold focus group discussions and staff forums to gather feedback on the cost-cutting options. Public forums are planned for May 10 and May 12 at 6:30 p.m. at the Library Services Center, 2450 N. Meridian St. The board is expected to make a decision in June.

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  • Please stand up to fight the library closings!
    If you think this is a terrible idea, then make sure to be at one or both of the public hearings. If you want to keep track of what is happening with this situation, please check the Facebook group here: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=108427279192976&ref=mf
  • Agreed
    Someone needs to seriously rethink this - Heck, Southport Branch would be a better choice than Fountain Square, for example.
  • Library closings
    The branches mentioned are in the areas where they are most needed. Broad Ripple library was closed to make the Glendale library and is a lovely facility. Maybe we should cut hours. We spent plenty on the monster building downtown. We need to help those who need it the most. Bad idea!
  • BAD Planning
    It seems that the locations they chose are the locations that have the greatest need from the lowest incomes and highest educational needs. Sounds like this policy is lets make the disadvantaged even more at a disadvantage, take away their resource center to learn and do their school work, lets lower their verbal skills on the ISTEP tests because we will take away their sources of reading, lets get them to fall further behind in all their other subjects.
    This is just like saying we are going to close the health clinics and doctor offices in the areas where the people are the sickest and greatest of need because the healthy areas make bigger profits and is less work.
    How much of the tax payer's money did we spend converting Broad Ripple Libray to Glendale. Now we are eliminating the library from the area. Sounds like a BAD decision.
  • Glendale Branch
    I visit this branch quite frequently and every computer is occupied and many people checking out books. This branch has been more recently remodeled and I believe is significantly larger than the Nora Branch. The Glendale Library Branch should not close. It would be more equitable for each branch to cut back varied hours and days allowing everyone to have access to a branch near their home or work.

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