Restore libraries

 

There’s an important perspective to be added to the April 11 article Without more tax dollars, Miami-Dade library system would fire more than half its full-time staff.

Almost 15 years ago, the Miami-Dade Public Library System proposed, and the County Commission adopted, a plan to bring it into the 21st century.

It included an increase in revenues for both new construction and renovation to meet the needs of a population in motion. The plan worked.

In 2002, “items checked out” equaled 4,572,097; by 2010, the system had achieved a circulation of materials and research tools of 9,224,050.

After several years of heedless cost-cutting, the items checked out had been reduced to 6,143,818, far below the achievement of 2010.

There’s no evidence that demand had lessened; cost-cutting had reduced staff and the hours the system operated.

When the commissioners begin their budget considerations on April 23, they will be voting on revenue and the level of service they think befits Miami-Dade in 2014-2015.

Jeff Donnelly, former chair, Miami-Dade Library Advisory Board, Miami Beach

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Miami Herald

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