Tuesday, July 19, 2011

LA Restores Monday Library Hours

(DN) All 73 city libraries were open for business yesterday, the first Monday they have been open in about a year, but the budget crunch that prompted the Library Department to scale back hours has not abated sufficiently to allow hiring back laid-off librarians.

The city's 64 branch libraries will also be closed for four hours Friday mornings starting this week to accommodate the Monday service.

Since 2009, the department has lost nearly 300 librarians and other staff -- about 27 percent of its employees -- due to budget tightening and early retirement incentives.

In March, voters approved a measure 63-37 percent to boost funding for libraries by increasing the percentage of property tax money the department receives.  Measure L is supposed to increase funding for the library through 2015.

Library officials hope the revenue will enable libraries to open four nights per week, instead of two, and for the main library and eight regional branches to open every day.

The city department has about 800 employees and relies on nearly 7,000 volunteers for many tasks. About 1,000 volunteers help teach people to read. Others lead tours of the Central Library downtown or deliver books to homebound people.


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