The Chicago Public Library announced via its Facebook page Wednesday that, apparently effective immediately, all of its branch locations, save two plus the Harold Washington Library Center, will be closed on Mondays.
NBC Chicago reports that only two regional libraries -- Sulzer in Lincoln Square and Woodson in Washington Heights -- will remain open seven days per week. The branch libraries will now be open only five days per week, during varying hours, as listed on the CPL's website.
The CPL tweeted Wednesday that the closures were due to "a cut to our 2012 budget which resulted in some layoffs." The move, the CPL's tweet read, "allows us to maintain services with fewer staff."
As the Center Square Journal pointed out, some commenters on the CPL's Facebook announcement indicate that other changes have begun with the new year at the city's libraries, including new reductions to the number of holds permitted per patron. The have since been removed from the page.
The closures were the result of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's drastic reduction in library funding as a part of his first-ever city budget. Emanuel's initial budget proposal proposed a $10 million reduction in funding for the city's libraries, entailing widely reduced hours and staff layoffs.
The proposal was met with community ire -- and the mayor backtracked, slightly, by restoring $3.3 million of the library funding. The funds would allow the city's libraries to remain open six days during the summer and when children are on winter vacations, and still trim $6.7 million from CPL's budget. Emanuel's budget was approved unanimously by the City Council in November.
The cuts inspired the formation of a Facebook community titled "Save Chicago Public Libraries and Librarian Jobs." The page has attracted nearly 2,200 likes since it launched.
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