Albany’s proposed city budget for the next two years has a bit of encouraging news, as far as I’m concerned. It does NOT call for or require the closing of the Carnegie library downtown.
The city budget committee has been reviewing the financial plan for 2021-23. No doubt there are important and maybe even interesting nuggets in the 592 pages, but I didn’t seek them out.
I did look up the section on the public library and asked Eric Ikenouye, the library director, about it.
“We plan to keep the Carnegie open,” he replied. “As it states in the budget: The nearly 10 percent cut to staffing levels will result in a reduction of library hours at both locations for the upcoming biennium.”
The staffing cut he refers to reduces jobs at the library from just over 21 FTE (full-time equivalent) to 19.3.
When and if the libraries — either the main branch or the Carnegie — return to being “open” in the traditional sense is unknown. They haven’t had their regular open hours for more than a year.
But since April 1, they have been open to people making appointments to use the computers, pick up items they’ve reserved, or browse the collections. The browsing appointments can take up to 20 minutes at a time. That doesn’t allow for a lot of indecisive wandering though the shelves looking for intriguing titles, but it’s better than nothing.
You can make appointments online on the library’s website. It’s so easy even I could do it. Or you can call them on the phone. (hh)