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Library Patrons Ask For Repair Work, No Cuts

Thousands of library users signed petition.

Residents appeared before Alexandria City Council Saturday to ask for the restoration of proposed budget cuts at the library branches and fund repairs at Beatley Central Library.

City Manager Rashad Young is proposing to cut library hours by two hours per week at the city’s branches in Old Town, Del Ray and the Seminary Hill area. At the hearing, several residents stood in support of remarks from Eileen Bradley, president of Friends of Beatley Central Library.

See: Library Hours Cut in Budget Proposal  

The Friends group launched a petition drive to support the library budget on March 20 and collected 2,339 signatures to approve a custodial contract and a set-aside of $565,000 in the Capital Improvement Program to fix deterioration at Beatley Central Library, which the city manager has proposed. The petition also asks council to reject the proposal to cut service hours and resource budgets at the library branches to buy books, CDs and other materials.

Bradley presented council members with flash drives containing 275 photos documenting deterioration at Beatley Central Library. Water leakage has damaged both the interior and exterior, she said.

“It is not just a good idea to include $565,000 for the Capital Improvement Program, but it as a compelling one, one that has been needed for a very long time,” Bradley said. “... Do not let the Alexandria jurisdiction be the only one in the metro region that is cutting service hours.”

Bradley said the damage has taken place over the past five or six years at Beatley, which opened in 2000.

Also speaking Saturday was Bill Hendrickson, president of the Del Ray Citizens Association, in support of restoring cuts to library branches that will affect operating hours.

Hendrickson said cutting evening hours at the Duncan Branch would affect community groups who meet at the library. “Most people in Del Ray work during the day,” he said. “And the library is an important gathering place for the community in the evening.

“Both the library and community groups sponsor events there. And so, by cutting evening hours... our overall sense of community will be diminished, we feel.”

The DRCA voted last week to send a letter to Young, the council and the Alexandria Library Board asking that the current hours of operation at Duncan Branch be maintained.

Marjorie Conner April 15, 2013 at 11:49 AM
Our libraries have become de facto homeless shelters during the day. Our librarians, who spent tons of money on advanced degrees in library science, are ill equipped to act as social workers or psychologists. Our City badly needs a day shelter for our significant homeless population. Perhaps we can form a private-public partnership to create a safe place for our homeless.
Blane Adcock April 15, 2013 at 01:28 PM
I just find it fascinating that in the late 1990's time frame of the design and building of this library -despite millenniums of human building experience, highly educated and specially trained architects armed with powerful design computers and software and experienced builders with space-age materials available they were unable to build something that could keep the water out for more than six or seven years. I wonder how long it will be before the new police HQ is in a similar state after the graft machine dismissed the architect for trying to keep the project's costs in line and not sacrificing quality. The city taxpayer gets regularly and thoroughly screwed by the current Democrat machine in power here.
Lewis April 15, 2013 at 03:39 PM
So true. It's problematic in two ways. First, sheltering the homeless in a library is much more costly than a similar shelter without tens of thousands of books (and no, I'm not saying homeless shelters should be completely without books). Second, the significant homeless population in the libraries deters many patrons who would otherwise use the library as ... a library.

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