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Minneapolis PL Cuts Staff, Hours

After three hours of discussion, the Minneapolis Public Library board July 9 agreed on a preliminary budget that spares branches from closing but eliminates up to 80 full-time staff positions and drastically reduces hours across the system. MPL faces a 20% reduction in operating expenses in 2004 and has already been hit with a 10% cut in 2003 that forced it to contemplate closing branches and canceling construction of a new downtown library facility, although these options were rejected.

The board canceled funding for the homework-helper and summer-reading programs in order to keep all branches open at least some hours. No branches will be open Sundays, including the temporary Central Library, which is cutting weekly hours from 53 to 40.

The audience applauded when the board decided to cut its own pay by 10% and eliminate its travel allowance. “It’s very important to be part of the pain,” board member Anita Duckor said in the July 10 Minneapolis Star Tribune.

The board also discussed the possibility of saving staff positions by offering raises of 2% instead of 4%. “We will approach the unions,” Library Director Kit Hadley said, “but management can’t unilaterally do that.”

Final approval of the budget is expected at the board’s July 23 meeting.

Posted July 14, 2003.