Sunday, March 22, 2009
A Tale of Two Libraries
The Lincoln Library Board has voted to close Bethany Library (and South Branch Library, which has its own Facebook group). QUOTE...the Library Board action regarding Bethany and South Branch Library was in response to needing to craft a budget with a significant cut. UNQUOTE- Pat Leach, Director, Lincoln City Libraries, in an email to Deborah Yost dated 03/10/2009
Bethany and South Branch are the only libraries left in Lincoln that serve older neighborhoods and lower income families. We are questioning the "need" to trim the budget in this particular fashion. It's time for us to take action to save Bethany and South Branch Libraries! Organized we can put together a campaign to address this discrimination. Millions of our taxpayer dollars were funneled into the new libraries which are out of reach by bicycle and walking of most of Lincoln, while the neighborhood and accessible ones are up for closing. The neighbors helped build Bethany with bake sale money, for heaven's sake: NE Lincoln bake sales funded nearly 1/3 of the building costs. SAVE BETHANY LIBRARY! SAVE SOUTH BRANCH!
From The Lincoln Journal Star:HILARY KINDSCHUH / Lincoln Journal StarFriday, Feb 20, 2009 - 12:04:37 am CST
QUOTE Last year, Lincoln cut library hours to help balance its budget.
This year, the Library Board of Trustees again is discussing the possibility of closing the Bethany and South branch libraries. The library budget could be decreasing by around $675,000 this year, said Pat Leach, director of Lincoln City Libraries.Cuts made in previous years — including shorter hours — “make us have to look at more drastic measures,” she said.
The Bethany and South branches have fewer books and computers than larger branches, and the possibility of closing Bethany has come up before in budget discussions, Leach said.“Those two are smaller locations,” she said. “They’re valued and they are used, but they’re not able to offer the fuller range of service that the quadrant libraries do.”At a meeting this week, the board identified closing the two branches as a cost-cutting move. The board will meet Tuesday to finalize its budget proposal before submitting it to Mayor Chris Beutler’s office.
The mayor’s chief of staff, Rick Hoppe, stressed that the budgeting process is just beginning and officials are making “educated guesses” about what they may need to cut when the budget is adopted in August.Although the city’s financial situation is dire, “we’re nowhere near closing those (branches) at this point,” Hoppe said.
At least one member of the City Council will oppose closing any libraries.“I’ve fought for years to keep the neighborhood libraries open,” said Councilman Jonathan Cook.“There have been budget cuts in the past and there was a lot of community feedback saying these libraries were very important to neighborhoods, and in the past we chose not to make cuts.” UNQUOTE