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Public Library Branches Get Hours Pruned

By Kevin Robinson in News on Oct 6, 2009 3:40PM

Photo by brantastic.
In an ongoing effort to control costs and contain the city budget, the Chicago Public Library system is working on a plan to reduce hours at 76 branches this winter. The cuts will reduce the hours that libraries are open, Monday through Thursday, but will not impact the three main libraries: the Harold Washington library downtown, Sulzer on the North Side, and Woodson on the South SideMost branches are open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.. Under the new plan, which is still being worked out, branches would open no earlier than 10 a.m. and close no later than 8 p.m.; hours would be staggered amongst branches.

Chicago libraries have been suffering from a hiring freeze in recent years, and “our staff had really gotten over-extended and utterly exhausted,” said library spokeswoman Ruth Lednicer. While the hiring has impacted staffing levels across the board, the system was further reduced this year when the Daley administration laid off 120 of 279 pages, who shelve books. “It is the best answer that we found to be able to get our libraries back to being fully staffed," Lednicer said.