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The Maxville branch library is slated to close because of budget cuts. Also on the list are Willowbranch and Mandarin branches. (Photo from
Jax Daily Record Tuesday, Sep. 9, 201412:00 PM EST

Board says cuts will close Mandarin, Maxville and Willowbranch libraries

by: Max Marbut Associate Editor

If the across-the-board 2.4 percent reduction in department budgets recommended by the City Council Finance Committee occurs, some libraries in Jacksonville will close.

After absorbing a $132,000 budget cut for part-time hours, the library is faced with finding another $764,460 to cut based on the budget.

The library board of trustees previously voted to close the Maxville Branch Library, the least-used branch in the system, to save $68,477 in the 2014-15 budget.

The trustees developed a range of scenarios on Friday to accommodate the budget cut. On the low end, $772,234 could be saved by closing the Mandarin and Willowbranch libraries.

The highest-level cut, $1,464,206, would be achieved by closing the Mandarin, University Park and Willowbranch libraries and closing all libraries on Sunday.

“In our control are people and materials. Reducing staff will close libraries,” said Brenda Simmons-Hutchins, trustees chair. “We’ve been here before. Our backs are against the wall.”

Public library spokeswoman Kathy Lussier said Monday it’s too soon to know exactly what services will have to be eliminated. The trustees plan to meet again, possibly this week, after more details about the library’s budget are available from the council auditor.

“We want to see where things go over the next several days,” she said. “There are just too many unknowns right now.”

In previous years, the City Council restored enough money to the library’s budget to keep branches from closing.

The budget approved Friday by the council Finance Committee is based on not borrowing money or using reserves for operational expenses. The budget goes to the full council tonight.

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