No library closings for 2011



Indianapolis Marion County Public Library officials announced yesterday that they would not enact any of their proposed branch closings in 2011, opting for what board president Tom Shevlot called a "band-aid" until a long-term solution is found.

Faced with huge budget shortfalls, the board proposed closing six branches back in April: Spades Park, Brightwood, Flanner House, Fountain Square, Glendale and West Indianapolis.

As I reported for NUVO in late April, the proposal had community leaders and concerned residents understandably up in arms. Critics maintained that the closing disproportionately affected disadvantaged neighborhoods, where access to libraries would be inherently more difficult.

According to the Star, the board's adopted plan will save about 2.5 million. Some of the details:

— Elimination of up to 10 full time positions and 11 part time positions due to reduction in operating hours, $440,000

— Closing branches on Sundays during summer, Memorial Day and Labor Day, $16,000

— Elimination of paper notices to patrons, $80,000

— Reductions offered by landlords, $10,700

— Reduction of 20 percent in books and materials, $1 million

Chalk up a big — if temporary — victory for grassroots community activism, for the hundreds of conscientious Indianapolis residents who made their voices heard.


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