Mayor Carlos Gimenez’s blue-ribbon panel was, sadly, a political scheme dressed up as his concern for libraries. Over $100,000 in tax revenue was spent by the county hiring consultant pollsters and taking surveys. The panel’s recommendation to increase the budget and enhance library services was then ignored. Instead, two scenarios were unveiled at the panel’s final meeting and both reduced services. This self-created fiscal crisis has bankrupted our library system. Yet, three years ago, Miami-Dade Public Library System was flush with $60 million in cash reserves. This was money set aside to renovate worn out facilities across the county.
Today, left with a trimmed budget, the libraries limp along with too few staffers, too few books, outdated laptops and leaking roofs. Our mayor’s answer: Even less staff, with fewer hours.
Daniel Berger, Coral Gables