As reported on several news outlets, due to a $2 milion dollar shortfall, the D.C. Public Library system will be shuttering it’s doors on Fridays and will be possibly closing some kiosk branches city-wide. This is due to a projected shortfall in the 2009 budget for staff. The budget cycle begins in October, so these closings will begin around that time. This will also come at the beginning of the school year, putting teachers and students in a bind for other research materials. While libraries in the computer-age may be a loss-leader for city budgets, it’s also needed resource in cities that have a significant poor and working-poor population.
As Internet use has zoomed in the suburbs around the country, large cities cannot afford to cut off places where others who don’t have that luxury can take advantage of the technology. The idea to cut services in the underserved areas of the city is doing more harm than good, as cutting hours in areas that are at least served to standards (and perhaps overserved) could possibly help balance the issues. I think the decision may be cutting of the nose to spite the face in this respect. I figured with the supposedly smart folks running the city, they’d possibly understand simple things like equillibrium versus the easy pickings… plus, it’s not like you can send people over to the LOC as a backup plan.