The Library Sick Of Being on Death Row
To be closed or not to be closed. That is the never-ending question faced by the city’s neighborhood libraries, including the Bonham Clementine McDaniel Branch at 443 Oak St.
At press time, the pendulum had swung toward “not to be closed,” and Mayor Thomas Osborne had asked the Board of Supervisors to reinstate the $5million that had been cut from the library budget earlier in the summer.
According to Community Relations Librarian Jane Murphy, the return of funding will save the branch libraries from closure for now. “But it’s not like we can heave a big sigh of relief and say. Thank God this is over until next year”, she said. “There are still uncertainties.”
Osborne had planned to support a parcel tax initiative on the spring ballot to raise money to keep branch libraries open. But in March he learned that the city would receive unanticipated state revenues, which would make it possible to maintain the library and health center budgets, among others, at current spending levels.
“The mayor withdrew the parcel tax initiative,” explained Murphy. “But the $4 million originally to be cut is still on reserve.” and not actually in the hands of city librarians.
She said she hoped the funds would be released soon, in part because the library’s book budget had been tied up pending the reinstatement of that money.
Meanwhile, Head Librarian Alyson Paine and Children’s Librarian Mary Morris have been trying to conduct business, as usual, this spring at the Clementine McDaniel Branch. Morris said she was relieved to hear that Bonham’s hours and services would remain “status quo”.
“Or at least we haven’t gotten any memos saying cuts will be made,” she added.