After Protests, Only Four Miami-Dade Libraries Still Set To Close

Categories: News


When Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez warned that 22 of the county's 49 libraries could be closed due to budget cuts, the news was met with loud resistance Dade's bibliophiles. Well, Magic City readers can breathe a small sigh of relief, as the number of closures has been reduced to just four libraries.

The bad news is that Gimenez still plans to lay off nearly 200 library workers, a reduction of just 52 positions from his previous plans.

"Our plan will include the increase of part-time librarian positions," Gimenez told reporters. "We know that implementing this plan will require modified schedules including the reduction of days and hours for some branches."

The four libraries still set to close are Country Walk, Sunset and Tamiami, as well as the library system's Civic Center kiosk. That list will be finalized when commissioners vote on the 2013-14 budget after two public hearings in September. The renegotiation of
the leases for some of the libraries housed in privately owned commercial properties played a large role in saving some of the other branches from the ax. Miami-Dade has also revised some of its first proposed casualties to fire and rescue trucks, as well as firefighter layoffs.

After Gimenez's initial announcement about 22 libraries facing closure, residents flooded the city with tweets, phone calls, emails and rallies to save the libraries. In part because of that outcry, the county also pledged that five additional school libraries will be open to the public soon, at D.A. Dorsey Educational Center, Lindsey Hopkins Technical Center, Miami Lakes Educational Center, Robert Morgan Educational Center and the South Dade Educational Center in Homestead.

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Emy de la Fuente
Emy de la Fuente

It must be the new math that I don't understand. 22 libraries were being closed at the cost of 251 jobs. Now only 4 libraries are being closed but at the high cost of 191 jobs. What are we manning the libraries with, robots, androids? That ratio does not make any sense at all. What is the Mayor up to now?

Jen Die
Jen Die

How about he off himself, and we keep the libraries.

Barbara Behrens
Barbara Behrens

Save the libraries ! I'm from NJ and We have ours opened.

Jay Lee Mendez
Jay Lee Mendez

The libraries like post office isn't bringing in the dough....


The $7.476M forced transfer of library reserves from a special taxing district in FY 2009-10 budget year to the general fund's Dept. of Cultural Affairs.

This list reflects only a few of the entire list of organizations that received grants from the library district funds that year:

City of Coral Gables $20,601

City of Miami Springs $32,593

FIU Board of Trustees for Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum $7,283

Miami Science Museum $30,107

Vizcaya Museum and Gardens $16,877

Seraphic Fire $42,500

FIU Board of Trustees for School of Hospitality $74,537

FIU Board of Trustees for School of Music $44,985

Miami Dade College, Miami Book Fair $79,692

Miami Dade College, Film Festival $69,382

University of Miami, Frost School of Music $47,647

University of Miami School of Communication $23,645

FIU Board of Trustees for Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum $130,500

FIU Board of Trustees for Wolfsonian $244,700

Florida Grand Opera $376,800

Friends of the Bass Museum $166,750

Miami Children's Museum $244,700

University of Miami, Lowe Art Museum $153,750

Performing Arts Center, Adrienne Arsht Center $340,000

We point out these organizations because they represent reputable ones that cater to the well heeled and most charge admissions. It is interesting to note that while in FY 2009-10 the library had $7.476M taken from its budget reserves and given in grants to these organizations, the very next year 300 library employees were laid-off, library days of operation and hours were reduced and the materials budget was slashed.

We, the taxpayers, were not informed of the fact that the TRIM notice stating that we were paying for library services,was in fact funding concert series and gallery exhibits. The people of neighborhoods from Pinecrest to Overtown and from Homestead to Hialeah Gardens were not asked if they preferred to have reduced library services or access to music performances and art exhibits. This went unstated in 2010-11 when almost all MDPLS branches lost about 10 hours a week of service, the libraries' free science, math, and reading tutoring program was axed, Sunday hours were eliminated and a massive staff layoff of 150 full-timers and 100 part-time shelvers.

Now, for 2013-2014, the Mayor has come up with another plan to eliminate over 194 positions (the library will also be losing the vacant positions it currently has in its table of organization). Again library services will be further reduced to the community. when the finger of blane is pointed it is at the commissioners who are responsible for either raising taxes or closing libraries. Any choice, the commissioners are left holding a bag of manure.

When your libraries cannot probide you service with a skeleton crew, the doors are closed to you with reduced days and odd hours and or just completely closed, the mayor's decision will be too late to fix. With limited access to a surviving librarian, next to no best sellers, only one newspaper located just at a regional branch, no magazines, few DVDs, few reference resources, eBooks, electronic resources, downloadable music, etc. you can understand where the politicians of this community spent the funds from your taxes that was designated as library millage.

Possible Solution?

We have a vote of no confidence with our elected officials and propose that the library taxing district and library operations be overseen by an independent board of trustees that determines the millage and budget for the library in a similar fashion to the School Board. The people that reside in this community deserve better oversight of one of their best community resources.


The Mayor's behind closed doors plan to create just "a footprint" of what had been the Miami-Dade Public Library feels like the Wizard of Oz - don't look behind the curtain..

So, let me be the one to ask, where is the transparency in this transitional period?

This plan seems to save buildings, not libraries.

What new reduced hours? Can each community offer their input?

What new reduced days? Same question.

How are library "partners" getting picked?

Can my non-profit organization get involved?

If I get this opportunity, will the library provide free space for my organization and can business be conducted using the county's supplies, staff, and other resources?

My organization's credibility will increase with this affiliation, so what are my responsibilities? Programming with children?

If my mission statement covers children and families, do I have to help those elderly people who visit the facility?

Who's liable for my staff's actions?

What services will actually be available from the school libraries?

In co-operative facilities, schools have made it clear that they will select the materials based on their criteria, so won't that heavily censor any materials the library would plan to offer?

Access to Internet will be nice, but will it be the full Internet or the filtered school Internet?

Will patrons be able to have reserves from MDPLS delivered to the schools? This was the flaw in the "homework centers" that were talked about a decade ago.

Will patron library cards work in the school libraries, and will the schools let people take materials home?

Can patrons return materials to the school libraries, and will the library's delivery system retrieve them?

Extra costs associated with the move will be paid for through a grant

Access to the schools are being paid for by what grant and when does the grant end?

Neighborhoods are not satisfied with hobbled services.

Where are the items stored in the Main Library's basement going? Is there a plan?

Doesn't a business like a main library need a loading dock located in the basement?

Is the printing press, the mainframe computer, the Cuban collection going to the County Store to be sold and the money goes into the general fund?

Who is the tenant expected to move into the basement space that now holds the century old repository, hundreds of stored art pieces, loading dock, stored book sale books, Children's book storage, mail room, maintenance equipment, office supplies, and $5-700,000 worth of collapsable shelving, etc.?

What will the ISD/GSA do to fill their budget gap left from the 2.5 million dollar shortfall of money that was expected from the Main Library's lease?

Commissioner Souto said that there are 4,500 vacant county buildings in the community. Why would this basement be more appealing to a tenant?

Eleven parks now have computers and wifi. I called and was told that the session fees are $12 a class? They had been free at the library...oh well.

AT &T is offering the county free/discounted wifi for the parks this year. What's the cost after this special offer is over?

I like to walk my dog in the park in the early evening, should I be wary of men using their devices to view porn?

A reduction in staff equals watered down services to the community. This will be reflected by less operating days, less hours, fewer materials, longer delays to receive items, and poor quality of service.

If two commissioners change their vote on September 10th, and restore a fully funded library budget, all of the reductions go away. Plus, the library system can welcome all future partnerships not from a weak and victimized position, but as a true equal. There are four who may listen: Souto, Suarez, Diaz, and Barrero.

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