It's still an open book on impact of library cuts

October 04, 1991|By Mark Bomster | Mark Bomster,Evening Sun Staff

Although a $1.2 million cut in state funding for the Enoch Pratt Free Library is "devastating" and "gigantic," according to a Pratt spokeswoman, officials are still trying to decide what effect the cut will have on services and staffing.

Gov. William Donald Schaefer's deficit reduction package cut state aid to libraries $1.5 million, or 25 percent, effective Nov. 1. Most of the aid goes to the Pratt, which is designated as the State Library Resource Center.

The state was to have contributed $4.7 million of the Pratt's $16.4 million fiscal 1992 budget, mainly for books and personnel, but the Pratt now will get only $3.5 million in state money.

The city Finance Department has estimated that the cut could force the shutdown of some library branches, a reduction in hours of operation and a layoff of some 40 employees.

Library officials have not made any firm decision on how to deal with the budget reduction, but they recognize it will be severe.

"It's a devastating cut . . . it's a gigantic cut," said Averil Kadis, spokeswoman for the Pratt. "It could affect hours, it could affect personnel, it could affect resources."

As the state resource center, the Pratt lends material and answers research questions for schools, academics and public libraries around the state.

Statewide, the budget cuts are expected to hurt services throughout the library network, according to J. Maurice Travillian, assistant state superintendent for libraries.

The network includes regional library resource centers in Southern Maryland, Salisbury and Western Maryland, he said.

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