Ribbon cutting ceremonies and open house festivities greeted the grand opening of the Silver Lake branch library earlier this month. But, behind the scenes, there has been little to celebrate as Los Angeles Public Library officials look at trimming back operating hours at the Silver Lake library and branches across the city in the face of financial pressures. Library patrons might soon find their branches closed on Friday mornings
Under a proposal approved by the Library Commission earlier this month, 72 branch libraries would open their doors on Fridays at 1:30 PM instead of 10 AM. The cut in hours is the result of a recent labor agreement that reduced the working hours and pay of union employees. The staff proposed closing libraries on Friday mornings because it is the slowest day of service.
The libraries might have begun closing Friday mornings at the end of this month but postponed the shortened scheduled because, as it turns out, conditions may become even worse. City Librarian Martin Gomez warned the commission that the library system might lose nearly 20% of its staff to an early retirement program. Currently, about 100 position remains vacant because of a hiring freeze. “This may result in an additional reduction of public service hours and library services,” according to the minutes of the meeting.
LAPL spokeswoman Brenda Breaux said a final decision on the reduction in hours is on hold until mid-December when the number of employees who will take early retirement becomes known. That’s when library officials will have a better idea as to how many hours might have to be cut.
Photo by Kansas Sebastian/Flickr