Magazine article American Libraries

Feelings Run High as Funding Falters in Hartford

Magazine article American Libraries

Feelings Run High as Funding Falters in Hartford

Article excerpt

On July 3, officials of Hartford (Conn.) Public Library narrowed an $870,000 budget shortfall for FY2009 by closing the Mark Twain and Blue Hills Avenue branches and laying off 40 staff members. Six weeks later, trustees announced they would reopen the branches August 25 to coincide with the first day of school.

"We are fortunate to have families who understand the important role libraries play in the enrichment and education of their children," HPL board President Geraldine Sullivan said in a statement August 12, the day after the city council unanimously restored $200,000.

Sarah Barr, spokesperson for Mayor Eddie Perez, cautioned in the August 13 Hartford Courant, "We haven't had a chance to review what the council passed, but absent of additional tax increases and layoffs, the city is not in a position to provide additional money."

Because the closings and layoffs had been projected to save $530,000 in FY2009, trustees had to decide how best to stretch the restored $200,000. The result was "a focus on the after-school youth services," according to the statement. …

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