Library Board Looks At Bleak Scenarios

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CHARLOTTE, N.C.,None — It's becoming a common sight in Mecklenburg County: a group's board members discussing how to deal with drastic funding cuts.

Thursday afternoon, the county's Library Board heard three new options for how it could operate after an anticipated 50 percent budget cut.

The first scenario would keep most branches open one to three days per week and cut up to 230 jobs.

The second would mean closing up to 16 branches based on criteria like popularity and location. Nearly 200 jobs would be cut, and libraries could still face a hefty deficit.

Scenario three would close all 16 community branches, leaving just eight regional branches open. That would also involve job cuts and leave the libraries in debt.

Director of Libraries Charles Brown said it is time to start looking for funding elsewhere.

"But you don't build a foundation or a major endowment overnight," he said. "That is going to take years to develop something of any real significance."

The Library Board plans on having a series of community meetings to discuss these scenarios. The topic of library funding is also on the agenda at next week's County Commission meeting.