It sounds like the Boston Public Library will be closed year round on Sundays:
Boston Public Library trustees have signed off on a $39.3 million budget that does not include branch closures or layoffs, but that does call for shuttering the Copley branch on Sundays….
The proposed library budget for fiscal 2012 budget will be included in Mayor Thomas Menino’s overall city budget, due to be announced next month and needing the approval of the City Council. If the budget stays the same, funding levels fall to levels that were in place in fiscal year 2000.
Finances remain tight for the cash-strapped library system, which handled a $48 million budget in fiscal year 2009. The budget draws upon city, state and federal funds, along with trust funds and donations.
In his state budget, Gov. Deval Patrick has slotted $2.4 million for the library system, while Menino and trustees are lobbying for $3.9 million, which they say will allow them to keep the Copley branch open on Sundays. The budget must still go through the state Senate and House, with the House budget getting released in April and the Senate budget expected to be released in May.
Because of the timeline, which will likely stretch into June as lawmakers hash out a final version of the budget to send to the governor for his signature, library officials are unlikely to know how much they’ll be receiving in fiscal year 2012 until July. If less than $2.4 million is set aside for the system, trustees may be forced to look again at layoffs and branch closures, according to a presentation BPL officials made to trustees on Wednesday.
I’m glad no one is getting laid off. But the major tourist draw, the Sargent murals, is already closed on Saturdays and after 5pm, so its viewing is limited. It would be nice if they closed that floor one day during the week and kept it open on the weekend. And the library is always crowded on Sundays.
But what’s really shameful is that in a wealthy city, in a wealthy state, in a wealthy country, we can’t seem to find the money to keep libraries open, but we can start wars of choice*. Assuming the U.S. hasn’t collapsed, thirty years from now, people are going to look back and ask how we could have been so stupid and short-sighted.
*Being an insane Chartalist, at the federal level, I don’t worry about deficits per se. But for those who do (and most people seem to believe we’re still on the gold standard and act accordingly), how do you justify all of the ‘freedom bombs’? Especially the liberal hawks.