Mayor Emanuel—recently proposed a budget that would cut a third of the full-time equivalent library staff to save about $8 million in a $6.3 billion budget (in an effort to fill a projected deficit of $636 million). Although former Mayor Richard M. Daley built 58 new libraries, two years ago he cut back staff and left hundreds of positions vacant. Emanuel proposes eliminating 268 currently vacant positions and laying off about 284 employees. Emanuel has alternatives for filling his budget deficits, such as diversion of surplus local property taxes accumulating in tax increment financing districts....Carl Sorrell, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) local union representing city librarians, argued that "without the Chicago Public Library, the city of Chicago won't be as great as it is." But he also contended that the city would lose economically, since library employees must live in the city, and the cuts would have ripple effects that depress local buying power.
Nov. 3, 2011. In These Times