When Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez warned that 22 of the county's 49 libraries could be closed due to budget cuts, the news was met with loud resistance Dade's bibliophiles. Well, Magic City readers can breathe a small sigh of relief, as the number of closures has been reduced to just four libraries.
The bad news is that Gimenez still plans to lay off nearly 200 library workers, a reduction of just 52 positions from his previous plans.
"Our plan will include the increase of part-time librarian positions," Gimenez told reporters. "We know that implementing this plan will require modified schedules including the reduction of days and hours for some branches."
The four libraries still set to close are Country Walk, Sunset and Tamiami, as well as the library system's Civic Center kiosk. That list will be finalized when commissioners vote on the 2013-14 budget after two public hearings in September. The renegotiation of
the leases for some of the libraries housed in privately owned commercial properties played a large role in saving some of the other branches from the ax. Miami-Dade has also revised some of its first proposed casualties to fire and rescue trucks, as well as firefighter layoffs.
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After Gimenez's initial announcement about 22 libraries facing closure, residents flooded the city with tweets, phone calls, emails and rallies to save the libraries. In part because of that outcry, the county also pledged that five additional school libraries will be open to the public soon, at D.A. Dorsey Educational Center, Lindsey Hopkins Technical Center, Miami Lakes Educational Center, Robert Morgan Educational Center and the South Dade Educational Center in Homestead.