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February 25, 2009 > Citizen decries library cuts

Citizen decries library cuts

By Simon Wong

Library cutbacks over the last few years have resulted in a 26 percent reduction in library staff, loss of morning hours Mondays through Wednesdays, and elimination of evening hours on Thursdays, Felipe Razo told Hayward City Council. Speaking on behalf of The Friends of the Hayward Public Library, he urged the council to place a revenue measure on the ballot to stabilize City finances.

Despite these setbacks, demand for the facility's services is strong, he added. "The library has implemented strategies and initiatives that have increased foot traffic and led to a 20 percent rise in spending on library materials. There are 750,000 visits per annum to the library. During the twelve months to the end of November 2008, nearly a million items were borrowed.

"This increase in circulation ended abruptly during the Christmas closure when approximately 10,000 customers were denied access. If a revenue measure is not passed, the library might also have to close on Fridays," he warned.

Although The Friends feel and acknowledge that any proposed revenue measure is, at best, likely to maintain the status quo, they hope that full library services will be restored when City's finances improve in line with wider economic recovery. Hayward has the shortest opening hours of any city library in the Bay Area.

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