Indianapolis Library Branches Unlikely To Close
Mayor pledges to keep branches open, but no funding solution yet
Norman Oder -- Library Journal, 05/12/2010
- $3 million loss must be made up
- Backlash against spending on arena
- Commenters support library, but show ignorance about operations
In April, the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library (IMCPL) Board of Trustees said it was considering closing four to six branches (of 22) in the face of expected 7%-8% reductions (about $3 million a year) in its annual operating budget.
That prompted the predictable outcry. Now, reports the Indianapolis Star, city officials have pledged to keep all the branches open, though the source of funding is unclear.
One component of the backlash: the city is entertaining the idea of spending $15 million a year to absorb costs at the Conseco Fieldhouse to support the privately owned Indiana Pacers basketball team.
The people speak
From comments on the newspaper's web site:
- "It's hard for me to think of a government provided service that's more important than having freely borrowed and circulated literature."
- "Why are libraries so expensive? It's such a simple idea, get a cheap place where people can donate used books, some volunteers organize them according to the Dewey Decimal system, then some volunteers loan them out to other people. It could be done in an old building with folding tables and used book shelves."
- "Politically speaking, what choice does [Mayor Greg] Ballard have? Closing the branches while trying to support a move to take over the expenses of Conseco Fieldhouse is a politician's nightmare. Let's see 15 million for the basketball team nobody is watching or money for the library that many of all ages are using."