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No Dearborn Libraries Proposed to Close This Year

A budget discussion Thursday evening centered around the future of the Dearborn Public Library.

Though exact details of how the Dearborn Public Library will be funded beyond are still a mystery, Mayor Jack O'Reilly told library officials at Thursday afternoon's budget session that he has no intention to propose the closure of either the or branches for the 2012-13 fiscal year.

"I do not intend to recommend the closure of any libraries for this year," O'Reilly said at Thursday.

This is not a guarantee that the library will receive the full $1.6 million in general fund dollars it has requested to keep both branches and the up and running; rather, it means that O'Reilly will not include a closure of a branch in the budget proposal he will present to City Council later this year.

Library Director Maryanne Bartles presented the city with a rundown of library statistics and budget estimates at Thursday's meeting. Among them were numbers showing that more than 33,000 Dearborn residents hold library cards, and that 447,827 people visited the libraries in FY 2011.

Budget estimates totaling just under $5 million for all three libraries, explained Bartles, include around $250,000 in capital improvement projects. The largest of those expenses–around $200,000–would be a new roof for HFCL, which is starting to leak.

Additionally, there are plans to renovate the mezzanine of HFCL to create more public use space. Staff would be moved into the vacant Health Department offices on the first floor of the building.

Mayor O'Reilly championed the mezzanine improvement, highlighting the fact that it will create more space for students and those wishing to use computers.

"(The renovation) will really enhance electronic connections and a better way to provide what individual populations need, like school-aged children," he said. "It’ll give us more capacity in our highest demand area."

Despite apparent city support of the capital improvements, Bartles expressed her trepidation over funding for the continued renovation costs–which could also include new doors for HFCL in the near future.

“My concern is that with those types of expenses, how do we manage them for the next 10 years?” Bartles asked.

O'Reilly expressed that with all department funding requests, "we're going to allocate what we have according to the highest need."

"That will include the library," he added, "but it's not a wish list."

Beyond looking at budget numbers, the city applauded Bartles and the library system for continuing to show growth of use, even as funds have been continually cut.

A comparison analysis prepared by Library Commission Chair Marcel Pultorak shows that while staff, hours of operation and the materials budget are down from 2001 numbers, use is up.

Active library cardholders were up 14.6 percent (33,774 to 38,731); program attendance was up 46 percent (13,358 to 19,515); and holds on materials were up 48 percent (78,871 to 116,653) from 2001 to now.

“The staff have evolved different way of doing things," Bartles explained. "We’re targeting our programming better."

Dearborn Taxpayer January 22, 2012 at 02:20 PM
Marooned - A 7-day subsription to the Detroit News is now $156 per year! That includes 24-7 access to the e-Edition and home delivery on Thursday, Friday and Sunday. So card-holders to the library get an exceptional value given the number of resources - newspapers, magazines, books, DVD's, computers, on-line resources, study rooms, etc. The point is that taxpayers are providing an unsustainable subsidy to the library system and in order to get closer to sustainability the library folks and city council need to consider some type of additional user fees to support the cost of the system. The new library tax will cost me over $100 more per year and I've been over to the main library only once in the last 5 years or so for a meeting in the auditorium. The taxpayers are the ones getting "hosed" not the library users.
Frank Lee January 22, 2012 at 03:30 PM
Thank you director Bartles for showing zero leadership and even less character. Any fool can close libraries and reduce operating hours. This ridiculous aggrandizing of the Dearborn political establishment is laughable. Bartles is destroying a library system and people thank her for keeping branches open for one more year. After we just voted higher taxes to improve sustainability, this is why no one on council ever challenges O'Reilly, because they spend years massaging his ego before they run for office. Now you know Dearborn is a mess
marooned in Dbn January 22, 2012 at 03:48 PM
Dbn Taxpayer, so its worse than I thought at 156 per year. My internet costs me 360 per year, and what I get out of it, no printed media can compete with. I use it for communication, business, news, entertainment, and so much more. I think that it should be cheaper than that, but thats what you pay corporations for, and you will be hard pressed to find any competition in that field that charges less for the speed of transmission than my ISP provides. The relic Det News/Freep lost my patronage and respect when they turned blatantly anti-union quite a few years ago. Every editorial vomited out of this entity is anti-worker in spirit. They are 100% pro corporate, so much for "balanced" news/opinions. As for your closing statement about the hosing of the taxpayers, (to praphrase myself), Thats what I said before....many times.
marooned in Dbn January 22, 2012 at 04:10 PM
Dear Frank, the solution is simple. The population eledgeable to vote in this fair city has to GET OUT ENMASS and VOTE, the same way the families of the vested interests did in the last election for more taxes. They DIDN'T. Until they DO...we will have a captive population of taxpayer peasants for the benefit of those same elites that infest this city, and their minions who work for them. As I said before, I am pro union. BUT, their comes a time when due to economic forces beyond our control, that are universally acknowledged, that in a typical 8 to 10 dollar per hour wage regime, we cannot continue to support office bureaucracy jobs, police jobs, fire jobs, ect., at accustomed levels, and cuts should have been made but weren't. Instead, taxes were raised on the public. The same public who's jobs could have been cut back/eliminated because of the aforementioned economic reasons that ALL are going thru.
Frank Lee January 22, 2012 at 06:48 PM
The people of Dearborn will never vote out O'Reilly. They are just to fat and comfortable. It will take the FBI to get this incompetent buffoon, his family, and cronies off the government dole. Fifty years and three generations this O'Reilly clan has been living off the public dole. He could not make it in the private sector because failure has consequences so he continues the family tradition of hogs at the government feed hole

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