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Budget woes force L.A. libraries to close on Sundays, cut hours on weekdays

March 25, 2010 |  2:31 pm
Los Angeles city libraries will shut their doors on Sundays and curtail hours during the week after a unanimous vote by the board of library commissioners Thursday.

The 1,132-employee library department is facing a vacancy rate of 20% because of a citywide hiring freeze and the exodus of more than 100 employees who are taking the city’s early-retirement deal before the end of this year. Officials said that once those employees leave, it would have been impossible to maintain the current schedule at the Central Library, eight regional libraries and 64 branches across the city.

Branch libraries are already closed on Sundays, but the central and regional libraries will now be added to that list. All of the city's libraries will also close at 6 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays, instead of 8 p.m. And the eight regional libraries will open at noon rather than 10 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

One hundred additional library employees have been targeted as part of a plan approved by city leaders to balance the city’s budget gap with as many as 4,000 job cuts. City Librarian Martín J. Gómez told City Council members Wednesday that if those cuts advance, he may only be able to keep the city’s libraries open five days a week.

-- Maeve Reston at Los Angeles City Hall