Alexandria’s city manager is proposing to cut library hours by two hours per week at the city’s branches in Old Town, Del Ray and the Seminary Hills area.
The cuts at the city’s Kate Waller Barrett, Ellen Coolidge Burke and James Duncan branches are projected to save the city at least $93,454 due to the elimination of five, vacant part-time positions, according to library system spokeswoman Kimberly Nathaniel.
“We know how much Alexandrians value their public library having just celebrated out 75th anniversary so any reductions to our budget are somewhat painful,” she said.
However, Nathaniel said faced with budget cuts the library supported the choices of reducing hours at the three branches.
The budget offers funds to the city’s one central branch, Charles Beatley Jr. Central Library, for maintenance and facility improvements such as new carpeting.
“All of our libraries are community destinations,” Nathaniel said. “Recognizing that the central library has the largest collection, more computers and Sunday library hours, it is the one facility that provides consistent hours of service for the community….The library supported these choices.”
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City Manager Rashad Young said in a budget briefing for reporters that it would be up to the discretion of the library system to determine which hours would be cut.
Nathaniel said the reduced hours absolutely will impact the community.
“With more than 1 million visits annually, Alexandrians visit our libraries for the children’s programs, to use computers or simply reserve meeting rooms,” she said. “While the library would prefer that none of our services were compromised, we will work toward a solution where the reduced hours will have the least impact on residents.”