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Local libraries to face budget cuts

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The Sacramento City Council is likely to make major cuts to local library services, according to a preliminary vote by council members Tuesday night.

Seven of the nine City Council members voted that they intend to cut the Sacramento Public Library Authority by nearly $800,000 when they approve the city’s budget in June. The authority runs 28 libraries in Sacramento County and its proposed budget for the 2011/2012 fiscal year is $35.7 million.

Councilwomen Sandy Sheedy and Angelique Ashby voted against the plan to make $792,121 in cuts to libraries next month.

The City Council is expected to make widespread cuts to services to resolve a $39 million budget gap for the 2011/2012 fiscal year. Tuesday’s budget hearing addressed the city’s funding for its partner agencies, including the library and the Sacramento Convention & Visitors Bureau.

The Sacramento Public Library Authority has several government agencies on its board, including officials from the city, the county and other cities in the county.

“You’ve been cut past the bone,” Sheedy told Sacramento Public Library Director Rivkah Sass at the City Council meeting. “I think we’re in the marrow.”

The council made its decision after library supporters made public comments arguing against the cuts.

“It’s really the young people that really need us in the neighborhood,” Pauline Grenbeaux, president of Arden-Dimick Friends of the Library, told the City Council.

Allison Yamamoto, a sophomore at C.K. McClatchy High School, told council members that a library staffer sent her information on how to apply for a summer program focused on international leadership. Yamamoto said she applied and then received a scholarship to attend the program.

“Without the library, I would have never even had this opportunity,” Yamamoto said.

Meanwhile, city budget cuts planned for the Sacramento Convention and Visitors Bureau would shut down a visitor center in Old Sacramento and dissolve the Sacramento Film Commission

However, no one spoke at the City Council meeting about cuts proposed for the bureau.

Read the city staff report about the proposed library cuts here. 

The Library Authority’s proposed budget is here. 

Read the city’s schedule for budget hearings here. 

Kathleen Haley is a staff reporter for The Sacramento Press. 

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