Top Charlotte-Mecklenburg library officials will address the public's questions and concerns at a meeting at Town Hall on Monday night, after financial pressures nearly forced the closing of 12 branch libraries, including the one on Catawba Avenue.
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library Board of Trustees voted unanimously Wednesday to change its plans and keep all its branches open. That reversed an earlier decision to close 12 of the system's 24 branches and lay off 148 employees by Saturday.
That earlier decision triggered a public outcry and a fundraising effort to help make up a $2million shortfall caused by a county-mandated budget cut.
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Still, the new plan will cut hours and days of operation at all branches, and 82 to 84 workers will be laid off. Branches will open only five days a week, and eight hours a day. Remaining employees will take pay cuts.
And those measures represent only a temporary fix, library Director Charles Brown and other board members said. Another round of major cuts could happen when the county commissioners decide on funding in the 2010-11 fiscal year.
"We were trying to maintain the highest quality of service, at a limited number of sites," Brown said of the original plan. "But the public has asked for locations, rather than level of service."
Brown cautioned the crowd at last week's special library board meeting that even steeper budget cuts are possible in the next fiscal year, which begins in July.
Brown and other board members said the public fundraising effort will continue. Any money raised will mean restoration of some cuts being made, such as children's story hours, book clubs or even hours of operation.
Monday's meeting will be from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in the community room at the Cornelius Town Hall, 21445 Catawba Ave.
Planning to be on hand are members of the Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library Board of Trustees, senior library staff and Friends of the Library.
The Cornelius branch celebrated its 10th anniversary Feb. 11 at its newest location. It has operated at numerous locations since 1931.
The branch is unique in serving about 8,000 visitors a month in a relatively small 5,500-square-foot space, library supervisor Ellen Giduz said. Staff writer Lukas Johnson contributed.