News on BPL Budget Cuts
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Possibly of interest if you haven't already heard about this. I hope the (lack of) formatting isn't a problem.
Begin forwarded message:
> From: Friends of JP Branch Library
> Date: February 8, 2010 11:38:27 AM EST
> Subject: (Friends of JP Library) BPL Budget Cuts
> Reply-To: email@example.com
> Dear Library Supporters:
>> I wanted to write and give you an update on what's happening at the BPL regarding budget cuts for the upcoming 2011 Fiscal Year budget cycle (FY'11 -- July 1, 2010 through June 30, 2011).
>> I attended the BPL Trustees' meeting held on January 19. With regard to the operating budget, the BPL projects that it is facing a deficit of $4.75 million for FY'11 if FY'10's level of services, including collective bargaining/personnel increases, and critical needs are not reduced. This equals an 11% decrease from last year's FY'10 budget.
>> Over the last two years (FY'09-FY'11), the estimated total BPL revenue loss is $10.6 million, a 23% decrease. Of that loss amount, the projected total state funding decrease for the two year period of FY'09-'11 is $6.5 million, a 73% decrease in state funding.
>> BPL President Amy Ryan explained some general ideas that she is considering implementing in order to cut the budget. She said the BPL needs to become "the right size for Boston" and there will be "no luxury of doing business as usual."
>> With only a brief explanation, President Ryan proposed three alternatives to cut the budget:
>> 1) Pairing -- Under this plan she would "hold harmless large branches" and pair 7 library branches with 7 other library branches. One set would be open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and the other set would be open Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. The same staff would serve both sets, thus reducing staffing for those branches.
>> 2) Tiering -- Under this plan she would keep "the strongest libraries open" and reduce hours at the other branches.
>> 3) Closings -- Under this plan she would "consolidate service points" by closing some branches.
>> Not many details were given about what these terms mean. The Trustees directed President Ryan and her staff to put together specific proposals for all three of these scenarios and present their findings to the Trustees at a Special Meeting, which will be held on Wed. Feb. 17th at 8:30 a.m. at Copley Square Library, McKim Orientation Room (see the notice below forwarded by the Citywide Friends). Facts on the branches will be presented and a decision will be made about which plan to implement.
>> The Trustees' Special Meeting is a public meeting and all are welcome. I plan to attend the meeting and wanted to make you aware of it.
>> Best regards,
>> Don Haber, Co-chair
>> Friends of the JP Branch Library
>> P.S. Nothing was said at the January Trustees' meeting about the BPL's capital projects budget.
>> ----- Original Message -----
>> From: CITYWIDE FRIENDS OF THE BOSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY
>> Sent: Saturday, January 30, 2010 10:07 AM
>> Subject: IMPORTANT MSG FROM THE CITYWIDE FRIENDS-PLEASE READ
>> The Trustees of the Public Library of the City of Boston have called a special meeting to discuss further reductions to the library's budget. One of the major agenda items under consideration will be system-wide reduction of branch hours, selective "rolling closings" (some branches closed on specific days of the week), and closing some branches outright.
>> It is important that the Branch Friends have a significant presence at this meeting. Whatever decision is made it has to be done with the Friends being up front and on the record. The notice of meeting is posted below. While the scheduling is inconvenient for many of us I hope you and members of your Friends will make every effort to attend.
>> Special Trustees Meeting
>> Wednesday, February 17, 2010, 8:30 a.m.
>> Boston Public Library
>> McKim Orientation Room, Copley Square Library
>> *This meeting was originally scheduled to be held in the McKim Trustees Room
>> Respectfully submitted,
>> Clerk of the Board
>> Trustees of the Public Library of the City of Boston
>> Jeffrey B. Rudman, Chairman; A. Raymond Tye, Vice Chairman;
>> Evelyn Arana-Ortiz; Zamawa Arenas; James Carroll; Donna M. DePrisco;
>> Berthé M. Gaines; Paul A. La Camera
>> Amy E. Ryan
>> Clerk of the Board
>> Jamie McGlone
> Friends mailing list
I'm of the opinion that the possible plans 1 and 2 would be the least damaging, because it doesn't mean entirely closing branches, which would mean atrophy. Once the economy is back up, and library budgets are back up, those closed branches would be a lot harder to resuscitate.
In my Library Admin class, I was given the estimate that library budgets were 6 months to a year behind the economy. Libraries are going to cntinue to suffer, even if the rest of the economy has an upswing.
I know Boston's not alone in having to make tough decisions like this, and I hope they're able to find ways to stay afloat that don't do too much lasting damage.
I hate limited hours so much, though. I think they erode public interest a lot more than fewer branches. It's like if Starbucks had a choice between giving you really crappy coffee or closing some stores. Be your best, even if it's smaller.
The trustees are reportedly leaning toward closing 8-10 branches. Their final decision will be made by the end of March, possibly during their next meeting on 9 March. Information at
I hope I'm not trying anyone's patience by posting these updates, but here's one more for those who might be interested but aren't on the BPL's eNews list.
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