Devotedreadersaskmayorforhelp

Neighborhood library fans are keeping the pressure on City Hall to spare the branches from this winter’s budget cuts.

Head Librarian Lynette Chase of the McKinney – Margaret McLaughlin Branch on Pine Street, said she had forwarded dozens of petitions to Mayor Andy Norton’s office, demanding that he not cut branch library hours, as has been proposed.

Hollie Booker and other members of the residents’ group Friends of McKinney have also set up tables on Pine Street to collect signatures on petitions to save the libraries. “We had over 1000 signatures in less than three hours”, said Booker. “The mayor must have received thousands of signatures from McKinney alone. Everyone is complaining about the possibility of losing the libraries.”

Booker reported that students from Greenleaf Elementary and Marie Middle School had organized massive letter-writing campaigns to support the local library. And numerous individuals were writing their own missives to the mayor, she noted.

But as of press time, Mayor Andy Norton had still not announced whether the branch libraries would be spared enormous cuts in the fiscal year 2016-2017. In October, the mayor asked all city departments to submit budgets showing a reduction of 20 percent from last year.

The McKinney Library Commission’s submission included a severe trimming of neighborhood branch hours, effective November 4, 2016. If proposed cuts are adopted, the McKinney City Library, at 341 Pine St. would be paired with the Sun Valley- Shawn Milk Branch on 15th Street and each would be open only two days a week, and no Saturdays. Currently, the McKinney Branch is open five days a week, Tuesday through Saturday.

“We haven’t heard anything yet”, said Lynette Chase in late October “We’re still up in the air.”