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Toronto Public Libraries may face budget cuts

The Toronto Public Library is fighting against proposed cuts to its operating budget. The city asked the TPL to reduce its budget by 5 per cent in 2011. The board declined last week, and instead asked for an additional $5.51 million, a 3.3 per cent increase over last year, to cover inflation and contractual employee raises and benefits.

Now that cost-cutting Mayor Rob Ford is officially in office, things aren’t looking promising for the TPL. The Toronto Star reports:

City manager Joe Pennachetti, whose own job is on the line with a new mayor, told senior staff sternly last week that Ford has an agenda for change. A lot of our staff, I believe, get it. They understand, Pennachetti says.

¦ [W]e have to look at who is on the library board, if they don’t wish to follow the directions of council, [deputy mayor Doug] Holyday promises. The boards should be trying to cooperate.

According to The Globe and Mail, the TPL would need to close all but five of 99 city libraries on Sundays; reduce its operating hours; and order 116,000 fewer books and materials annually to meet the budget cut demands. Between 2007 and 2009, the TPL saw an 8.1 per cent increase in use of library materials and a 7.1 per cent increase in visits from the public.