County Library May Reduce Staff Because Of Budget Woes

The Hennepin County Library plans to cut about 50 positions from its staff of more than 700 in order to swallow higher-than-expected costs that it disclosed this week.

According to preliminary data given to the Library Board this week, budget staffers have identified 46 to 51 positions that could be cut in 2009. Because some employees work part time, those possible cuts could affect more than that number of people.

But spokeswoman Megan Peterson said the “vast majority” of the savings will be from positions already left vacant rather than layoffs.

The 41-library system disclosed earlier this week that unexpected costs discovered after it absorbed the Minneapolis library system in January have swollen this year’s budget by $2.2 million. The library system is estimating a potential deficit of nearly $2.5 million in 2009.

Peterson said it hasn’t been determined how many of the positions that could be cut involve direct services to the public.

But library administrators told the board that their proposed $72.6 million budget is designed to keep all libraries open without cutting hours.