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Who’s the bookworm now?
The Brooklyn Public Library quietly cut branch hours by an unprecedented amount last week and 26 locations — nearly half of the system’s 60 locations — will now be closed for both weekend days, an unhappy ending for book lovers who go to school or work for a living. Another eight branches will be closed two days per week, though not both weekend days.
Library officials said that a $3.4-million decline in revenue forced the nation’s fifth-biggest lending system to choose between laying off employees or cutting Saturday service.
“We sustained cuts,” said spokesperson Malika Granville. “We were able to save jobs, [but had] to look at hours of service.”
Granville added that circulation and attendance figures led the library to pick weekend cuts rather than cutting service on weekdays, which is popular with schoolkids.
This isn’t the first time hours were cut to save employees’ jobs. Last year, the institution eliminated all Sunday hours as a cost-saving measure because unionized employees made time-and-a-half on that day.
In Greenpoint, customers of the Leonard Branch were ready to burn their library cards after hearing about the Saturday closure, which will now leave the Devoe Street branch closed for both weekend days.
“Those are the days that the kids are off from school,” said Uniqua Johnson, who has two sons. “The Brooklyn Library should be open.”
Families weren’t the only ones affected. Working stiffs also used the branch on Saturdays.
“I used to come here because on most weekdays, the library closes at 6 pm and I don’t get off work until 5:30 pm,” said Kat Ryan.
The branch cuts come with one good plot twist: Three larger branches — the Central Branch in Park Slope, the Kings Highway branch in Midwood, and the McKinley Park branch in Dyker Heights — will now be open seven days a week.
“Those are our highest circulating branches,” Granville said.
But these branches will now be closed on both weekend days: Brower Park, Coney Island, Dyker, East Flatbush, Eastern Parkway, Flatbush, Gerristen Beach, Gravesend, Homecrest, Jamica Bay, Kensington, Leonard, Mapleton, Marcy, Midwood, Mill Basin, Pacific, Paerdegat, Red Hook, Saratoga, Spring Creek, Stone Avenue, Walt Whitman, Williamsburg, and Washington Irvine.
©2010 Community Newspaper Group
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