Six Miami-Dade Libraries Off the Closure List for Now

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Mayor Carlos Gimenez
Community outrage over Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez's decision to potentially shutter 22 libraries has led to his administration removing six sites from the closure list. For now, the Culmer, Opa-locka, Lemon City, Little River, Shenandoah, and Lakes of the Meadows branches will remain open unless county commissioners vote otherwise in September when the county budget is finalized.

"We are continuing our work and anticipate possible additional adjustments to the list of closures," says Gimenez senior adviser Lisa Martinez.

Ensuring the libraries on the blacklist remain open would be a wise decision not just because of residents' discontent. Over the past decade, Miami-Dade has spent $750 million from a general obligation bond program approved by voters in 2004 to build new libraries and fix up existing ones, including some of the sites set to close.

For instance, the Golden Glades branch (built in 2006) was the first library the county constructed since the main library in 1985. It is still marked for closure. Another recent opening on the chopping block is the Virrick Park branch in Coconut Grove. "We will be paying now for improvements that our mayor is discarding," says Coral Gables resident Daniel Berger. "What an insulting waste of our money."

It seems Gimenez has gotten the message. He removed the Little River branch from the list. The county spent $1.8 million to buy land where the county is slated to build a new Little River branch. He also saved the Shenandoah branch, which was renovated with $1.3 million in bond money. The Culmer and Lemon City locations are slated to receive $340,000 and $305,000, respectively, in bond-financed renovations.

However, roughly $18.3 million in bond money meant for renovating the North Shore branch and build two new libraries in Doral and Hialeah Gardens could be used for other county pet projects not approved by voters. Those three sites are still on the closure list. "Please be aware that Library GOB funds can be re-allocated by county commissioners to other priority projects," Martinez says.

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18 comments
Lun_XWP
Lun_XWP

The 6 libraries will only be able to offer a shadow of the service they once did.   The current plan is only for them to be open part-time - possibly only a couple of days a week and for them to be staffed by part-timers.  There is practically going to be no money next year for materials. The mayor is just trying to keep branches open so he can proclaim that he's "saved" 6 branches but he hasn't.   The library service provided to these communities and to the county as a whole is going to be decimated.

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

Every neighborhood needs librarian advocates."


well here is a nostalgic LIBRARY neighborhood story i might share

the GOLF community does a lot of reading and among the favorites are books written by golf course ARCHITECTs

one most notable and recent star is TOM DOAK who of course has published and as well as he is received in the GOLF neighborhood his following does not amount to being economically sustainable for a book publishing printer - so his books do go out of print

ultimately the subsequent demand will exceed the existing supply and LIBRARIES have the only copies readily accessible to the general public on an everyday basis FREE of charge

one "industrious" person decided the fee for a lost book of $25 was a cost of doing business when he learned the out of print book could fetch $1,200 on e-bay

well the book was bought back at a settlement price (which was raised by donations from the GOLF neighborhood of book worms) and returned intact to the LIBRARY identified by the watermark and seal that library stamped and impressed on an introductory page of all books of its collection

MIAMI needs a library neighborhood that is impervious to its greedy and dishonest politicians which means it will have to succeed where others including those meaning to protect the everglades have failed = those long odds tell me MIAMI is too poor to win this fight

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

good thing that $562,ooo,ooo was spent on the new baseball stadium for the benefit of rich owners - we would NOT have wanted to WASTE any money on LIBRARIES

why should we allow anyone who wants to better themself with an education have free access to a LIBRARY ?

why then just close a few ?  why not close them ALL ?

D007078C
D007078C

1- Thank you for breaking this story.  I did not know about "the $18.3 million in bond money meant for renovating the North Shore branch and build two new libraries in Doral and Hialeah Gardens could be used for other county pet projects not approved by voters." 

2- For library staff, this is a slight reprieve from the enormous task of planning and implementing the break down and figuring out where to house the contents.

251 staff get the axe on October 1st.  The surviving libraries have to find room for the massive influx of furniture, shelving, computers, books. Some of this stuff were fairly new purchases. It would be upsetting to the tax payer and a great news story, to see it at the County Store. 

It's similar to a "all hands on deck" hurricane scenario.  If you have ever moved your own household, imagine the dismantling of 16 buildings with 100,000's of square feet of equipment, furniture and books.  

3-Don't believe the claim that your library is saved.  An open library without the staff, is no library at all.  The library needs to be fully funded, the two of the seven commissioners and mayor must be convinced to reconsider their vote. 

4-  So how did we come to this point when there are so many obvious community benefits of sharing resources amongst diverse neighborhoods? Over forty years ago, the rich and the poor areas joined together to form a library system. Its goal was to enrich the entire county's population, covering the 2,000 square miles, by combining their money.

Now, If you've read recent press releases by some of the commissioners, they hint about getting the cities and the towns to take back their own libraries.  Making municipalities pick up the bill, makes running the county easier but weakens each and every municipality. It creates a redundancy of resources and personnel. It limits the population to only what they can afford. Since resources are derived from a smaller tax base neighboring residents outside the boundaries are typically turned away. Also, a stand alone library building usually cannot house the amount of books and computers demanded by their public.

Each of the County Commissioners is answering to a vocal and narrow section of opinions that emanate from the restructuring of voting boundaries. When the county votes on issues as a whole, topics that are middle-ground and balanced such as the Pets Trust, get passed. The oddly misshapened districts were drawn based upon researching the groups that vote the same way. When these groups show up to vote (and they do vote) or to voice their concerns, it's to push their Commissioner towards self-serving decisions. So, what you have is a county mayor who says "After listening further to our residents and community leaders, it is clear that there is no public support for a tax-rate increase right now.”

Mayor Gimenez was quoted saying “People have said that the age of the library is probably, you know, ending.” This view is that libraries are a nostalgic remnant of our past so they are not worth the expense. So, if the people of MIami-Dade can be convinced that the library can't compete with the internet, then it is a sitting duck. The library stereotype means physical books. This is a common misconception to those unfamiliar with library services. Librarians have earned a reputation for wanting to help, treating people fairly, and being unbiased when providing resources and research. Every neighborhood needs librarian advocates.

Well, it's "What to do?" time. You have six August public meetings with the Mayor to let him understand the "other" point of view. For dates and times click on http://www.miamidade.gov/mayor/advisories/2013-07-23-budget-town-hall-meetings.asp.

On Sept. 10, the first commission public hearing will consider the budget and property-tax rate at County Hall. This is the last glimmer of hope for the library system to stay intact and keep its staff. The hearts of three of the seven commissioners would have to change for each to reconsider their yes vote about the flat millage. The other option is that the mayor is somehow convinced to veto the July millage vote.

If the vote stands, then they will finalize a plan to dismantle the 49 branch library system that took millions and millions of tax dollars to create.

To all of the children in the county that we've let down by allowing this to happen, we should all feel very sorry and then VERY angry. What took thousands of people decades to create, eight Commissioners took about 15 minutes in one session to destroy.

 Sept. 19: The second and final commission public hearing. (mostly a venting session, in my opinion, as decisions have already been made.)

 Oct. 1: New budget year begins. If the flat millage remains then the library system has 251 library staff laid off. Each person has 21 days left of service before they qualify for State unemployment and Cobra. The surviving 24 branches go to a reduced 2, 3 or (hopefully) 4 days of operations.

For even MORE information about this subject https://www.facebook.com/SaveTheMiamiDadePublicLibraries#!/SaveTheMiamiDadePublicLibraries

Juan R. Pollo
Juan R. Pollo

When was the last time you used a library? (not counting the restrooms)

Omar Ghaffar
Omar Ghaffar

That's good news; now for people to use them more. Perhaps the city should collect usage data.

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

@D007078C 

the same line of administrators that have killed the river of grass in the everglades will indeed prevail in killing the libraries because there is just too much corruption and greed that goes unchecked here in so FLA

A $562,OOO,OOO BASEBALL STADIUM IS THE PROOF

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

miami is too poor to afford libraries

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

@Juan R. Pollo 

AMONG THE "FAMOUS" LIBRARY VISITORs IN US HISTORY

the inventor of the XEROX machine chester carlson  AND poet charles BUK bukowski

BOTH claim without library access their lives would have been completely different

D007078C
D007078C

@Juan R. Pollo Mr. Pollo, when was the last time you went to the beach?  I personally haven't been in a long time. Why should I pay for life guards?   If you  stand behind the reasoning I don't use it, so it's not being used, we can dismantle a lot of shared resources.  Have you been to the Grand Canyon, Arcadia Ntl Park, Blue Ridge Parkway?  If no, then suggest selling it off, rather than maintaining it, to pay down the national debt. Your local library welcomes you back when you are interested. It's your safety net, your advocate, your access to resources that even the rich couldn't afford.  Before it's removed, check out the databases - http://www.mdpls.org/databases/databases.asp, and the downloadables at http://www.mdpls.org/databases/digital_library.asp  By not going, you don't realize what you are losing.  You don't realize what's been stolen from you. What took thousands of people decades to create, eight Commissioners and one Mayor took about 15 minutes in one session to destroy.  In the meantime, 8 million people visited last year but most were never asked about their feelings about losing their library. 

D007078C
D007078C

@frankd4 Miami is too poor not to afford libraries.  BTW, the county's budget is $60 billion dollars. Check out the dollar amounts in the article that are being toss around.  With the libraries, you at least get to use the stuff you paid for with property taxes and you have the advocacy of librarians who are there to try to answer your every question.   Have you tried calling 411? I think the price is about $1.25 a call. Try this http://www.ilovelibraries.org/getinformed/getinvolved/calculator and see what you get for your investment.   

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

@D007078C @frankd4

HERE IT IS................"“People have said that the age of the library is probably, you know, ending.”  mayor gimenez


YES indeed it is..............IN MIAMI...........just as it most recently has in DETROIT !

i agree with the mayor which is why i agree MIAMI is too poor for LIBRARIES = period

see NYC can add a billion dollars TO its library system because NYC is a rich and vibrant and growing and EDUCATED area that thrives and utilizes its resources to their BENEFIT paving their future

here in poor MIAMI a few greedy commisioners and owners of a baseball team can divert $562,ooo,ooo in PUBLIC funds to build a new stadium (marlins);  totally wreck an an entire community (hialeah) ;and tear down a historic monument (the orange bowl); ALL because the poor people cannot win against greed and kick-backs and bribes that SUCK OUT the necessary infastructure of the community AND replace it with PRIVATE beneficial interests for a few

to crush the sources of EDUCATION like the LIBRARIES will complete the cycle and keep the poor people disenfranchised and stupid

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

@D007078C @frankd4 


thank you for that link

i am an advocate myself HOWEVER getting anything supported that even smells like it might be EDUCATIONAL here in soFLA is a stretch

don't forget that administrations here have historically and purposefully DESTROYED the entire everglades eco-system which when you think of it , did and continues to require monumental resources - all to pave over the river of grass and to scar nature beyond repair

of  ALL the need in NYC the library there was funded by a single individual for $1oo,ooo,ooo which led to TEN TIMEs that amount being raised eventually - 

now how does that square with mayor gimenez's comment that libraries are unnecessary ? ! ? - WELL THERE YOU HAVE IT - miami is too poor to understand exactly how disenfranchised its people are and how totally necessary libraries are and that disconnect will lead to stupid public decisions and wasted resources and more poor people staying poor = period


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