Clevelands public library in Cleveland has been a destination for many people.
But the public library is about to face an unprecedented crisis.
The Cleveland Board of Education voted in October to cut 10 percent of the library’s budget to help fund a $2.2 billion renovation, as part of a larger budget plan that calls for the closure of 11 libraries across the city.
The decision comes as the Cleveland Public Library, a public institution under state control, faces a $7.4 billion budget deficit.
Many have questioned the plan.
“I think this is a big mistake.
They’re cutting things that they know are important, because they don’t have a plan to fix the libraries,” said Bob Lopnick, a Cleveland public school parent and member of the board.
“If we can’t keep the libraries open, we’re going to close them down.”
The board has until December to come up with a plan that includes a plan for the libraries to remain open.
The plan must include a funding plan for libraries and other public entities, and the libraries will have to be open by December 2018.
Lopneck says he’s concerned the library may close and lose its ability to offer services to people, but that’s just the beginning.
Cleveland Public Library has been around for almost 150 years, and its future is uncertain.
This is an opportunity to start over, he said.
As a public agency, the city can’t afford to shut down libraries.
Lomnick said he wants the libraries reopened to educate and teach.
“We need people to come back and have a great time,” he said, adding that he believes the public has a right to know what’s going on.
Lopnick says the board should find a solution that’s fair and allows libraries to continue serving the public while being able to pay for the renovation.
While the board is expected to vote on the plan later this week, Lopnik said he’s optimistic the project can be done.
If the city doesn’t fix the situation, it could end up costing the city $6.4 million in annual operating costs, he estimated.
The Cleveland Public library is located at 624 N. Franklin St. in downtown Cleveland.