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Library Cuts Disturb Patrons

Library patrons were disturbed to learn of plans to cut hours and staff to address a budget deficit. "I'm sad. It's not really a good idea to cut," Francesca Nivrose said. The middle school student uses the library to check out books, use the computer and obtain information. "We need the library," she said.

"I'm very disturbed," said Kathryn Walsh, who uses the library for reading and to peruse the latest literature. She often goes to the Harry Bennett Branch Library, which will be cut to two days of service.

"I know there have been budget issues," said Walsh, adding that she doesn't believe the administration adequately supports the library. "What it ends up doing is sending us to other towns," she said. "I just think it's deplorable. The library is a fundamental part of the city."

The library's Board of Trustees announced Thursday that hours and staff will be slashed to meet a $1.2 million budget shortfall. According to a statement, there will be no Sunday hours at the main library or any of the branches. The branches will operate only two days per week: 3-8 p.m. Wednesdays and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays at Harry Bennett Branch; 3-8 p.m. Mondays and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays at Weed Memorial and Hollander Branch; and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays and 2 to 7 p.m. Thursdays at South End Branch. The Bookmobile will operate 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Hours for the main library will be 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays; noon to 8 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays; and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays.

The new hours are scheduled to take effect Sept. 13.

The library also plans to lay off 10 to 12 full-time staff and several part-time employees.

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