Response to Library Closings
Today, I sent a response to the Library Board's Finance Committee's decision to close three community libraries, including the Southeast Lbrary, with my colleague Diane Hofstede (who represents Marcy Holmes, the one Southeast neighborhood outside the Second Ward).
Response to the Library Board’s decision to close three community libraries
From Council Members Cam Gordon and Diane Hofstede
We were extremely disappointed that the Library Board Finance Committee voted last night to close three community libraries, including the Southeast Library. We have both heard from numerous residents of our neighborhoods, urging us to find a solution that will save our neighborhood libraries.
Working with other Council Members, we drafted a letter to the Library Board expressing our willingness to work with them to find alternatives to closure. This letter was signed by nine Council Members, which indicates broad support for keeping neighborhood libraries open. We also had personal conversations with Trustees in advance of the vote, in which we asked them not to close the libraries.
We have been working to identify stopgap funding that could keep the community libraries open until the Stadium tax revenue begins to support the Library budget, and there are some additional concrete proposals that we were willing to fight for in City Hall.
The Finance Committee chose to disregard our letter and voted to close the three community libraries. We are disappointed by this decision, though we thank Trustee Laura Waterman Wittstock (a Southeast neighborhood resident) for her vote against closing the community libraries.
We will continue to work with the Library Board, our residents and our colleagues on the Council to prevent these three neighborhood libraries from being closed. Libraries are a high priority, as they impact education, public safety, and the livability of our neighborhoods.
Please contact your representatives on the Library Board and ask them to delay making a final decision at their meeting next week. Encourage them to engage with the Council on identifying sources of funding that will allow us to get through this difficult period with all of our libraries open.
You can find their contact information here: http://www.mpls.lib.mn.us/boardadmin.asp#board
As always, please feel free to contact us with your questions and concerns
Council Member, Second Ward
Council Member, Third Ward