3 Options Emerge For Library Trustees To Address Budget Shortfall

Boston Public Library trustees are weighing three options (PDF) as to how to close the organization's $3.6 million budget gap.

The first option would reduce hours by 50 to 85 percent at 18 branch libraries. Another would close four libraries — Faneuil, Lower Mills, Orient Heights and Washington Village — and keep all the other branches open at regular hours. The third option would close seven branch libraries — the four aforementioned branches as well as Egleston Square, Jamaica Plain and Uphams Corner — while keeping the rest of the branches open their regular hours.

Library President Amy Ryan says she favors shutting down four branches, sparing the rest of the system from extensive hour reductions.

"I think it’s a prudent approach right now," Ryan said. "It allows us to fill vacancies. It allows us to keep the hours at the existing 22 libraries. It’s a tough call (and) it's my recommendation but I think it’s the right approach."

All three options scale back — significantly — the original budget gap proposals, which included closing 10 branch libraries.

But library patrons and labor activists are still very upset that there is discussion about any branch closures, as they feel the city should step in and close the budget gap.

The board is expected to vote on the proposals Friday, which are subject to approval by Mayor Thomas M. Menino. The trustees also previously delayed a vote on staff cuts to Friday.

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This program aired on April 7, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.


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