Boston Public Library President Amy E. Ryan today endorsed a plan to close four neighborhood libraries -- the Faneuil, Lower Mills, Orient Heights, and Washington Village branches -- as part of a an effort to close a looming budget gap.
The plan, under which hours would remain the same at all the remaining libraries, was one of three options Ryan outlined at a meeting this morning of the library trustees.
The proposals would eliminate up to 94 library jobs. The trustees are expected to pick one option at a meeting on Friday.
The second option would shut down the four branches, as well as the Egleston Square, Jamaica Plain, and Uphams Corner branches. The remaining 19 branches would expand hours.
The third option would keep all 27 locations open but dramatically slash hours at the branches, leaving them open two or three days a week. The nine largest libraries would keep the same hours.
Twenty-three to 25 jobs would be cut at the branches under any scenario. Other proposed cuts would eliminate 35 to 38 jobs at the central library in Copley Square and another 28 to 31 jobs in administrative offices.
The proposed cuts were not as severe as expected. But a shortfall of more than $3 million remains.
Once the trustees vote, it will be a recommendation to Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino, who will include the plan in the budget he is scheduled to present April 14. The budget needs the approval of the City Council, but it does not have the explicit power to add funding to keep open a branch that has been slated for closure.
Library officials recently released statistics on each library, showing in detail which branches are less used, clustered close to other locations, and have inadequate facilities, the Globe reported last week.
Martin Finucane of the Globe staff contributed to this report.
Wendy Maeda/Globe Staff
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