April 1, 2010

Noyes Library patrons fear possible temporary closure

Raphael Cohen had his daughter, Talya, on his lap, carefully studying "Baby's Very First Animals Book" at the Noyes Library for Young Children in Kensington. Perhaps captivated by other toys, 16-month-old Talya crawled off in search of other stimulation.

"It's really my favorite place indoors to come with my daughter," Cohen, 26, said recently of the county's only library dedicated to children 8 and younger.

But Cohen, a Silver Spring resident, might soon have to find a new place for Talya's animal research. As part of his proposed fiscal 2011 budget, County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) has called for closing Noyes temporarily as the county attempts to fill a $779 million budget hole. The library could be closed for up to two years if Leggett's proposal is approved, according to Michele Sellars, a Montgomery County Public Libraries administrator. In addition to saving the county $202,000 per year -- the facility's annual operating budget -- the closure would allow the library system to reorganize the space and make it handicapped-accessible, Sellars said. Cost estimates for the changes were not available.

Leggett's proposed operating budget for the library system is $29.3 million, $8.5 million less than in the current fiscal year. The proposed cuts include 71 staff positions, along with cuts to programs and hours at the system's 20 libraries. Libraries in Gaithersburg and Olney also are scheduled to be closed for renovations in the budget.

SOURCE: Washington Post

No comments: