PUBLIC, PRATT GET CHANCE TO BE HEARD:|
THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS of the Enoch Pratt Free Library has approved library administrators plans for the future—plans they say are aimed at strengthening the library system. Their goal is to consolidate branch library services, closing five to 10 branches over the next few years. In justification, they say that the Pratts budget reductions have caused, and will continue to cause, reduced hours of service, cutbacks in purchases of books and materials, and deferred equipment and facility maintenance. An estimated $9.9 million will be needed for capital improvements to branches, administrators say.
At the same time, city voters approved a $7.5 million bond issue last November to be used to build a new 40,000-square-foot regional library in the Highlandtown area. Critics believe neighborhood branches are being targeted for closing in order for the Pratt to have sufficient funds to operate the new facility.
The Pratt will hold four public meetings this month to allow members of the board and library staff to present their recommendations and explain how they were formulated. Each of the following meetings will be held at 6 p.m.:
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