Detroit Public Library Faces Layoffs, Branch Closings

DETROIT (WWJ) – A bleak financial outlook means the Detroit Public Library could be laying off over half its staff and closing many of its neighborhood branches. 

The library is facing an $11-million shortfall. To fix the deficit, the library is looking at three different options, each involving branch closings and layoffs.

They can shut 18 of 23 branches and lay off 191 of the library system’s 333 workers; shut 15 branches and lay off 163 workers; or shut 12 branches and lay off 135 workers. That’s on top of 80 recent layoffs.

A final decision on the matter will be made next month.

Currently, the Detroit Public Library is the largest library system in the state, with its main downtown location, 23 neighborhood branches and a bookmobile service for the community.

The library system is largely funded through a tax that’s based on property values, which have declined. The tax that generated $40 million in 2010 is expected to produce only $14 million by 2015.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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