Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Springfield Libraries Under Fire Again By Maureen Turner

Springfield Libraries Under Fire Again
Supporters say proposed budget cuts would devastate the city's library system.

Springfield's city libraries have been on a roller coaster ride in recent years, with dramatic lows (the shutting of three neighborhood branches by the Springfield Library and Museums Association in 2003) and thrilling highs (the citizens' movement that same year that led to the city taking control of the libraries from the SLMA).

While not all the damage suffered under the SLMA has been undone—notably, Mason Square still doesn't have a full branch, six years after the SLMA secretly sold that neighborhood's branch building to the Urban League—the system has enjoyed a general sense of security since it was taken from the private organization and put under public control.

But that sense of security has been shaken by recent budget recommendations put out by Mayor Domenic Sarno. Faced with deep cuts in local aid, the Sarno administration is looking to cut more than $4.5 million in city spending over the remainder of the fiscal year, which ends June 30.

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