New hours for the PSN North Library

Community By David L. Snelling, The Miami Laker staff Friday, September 6, 2013

Miami-Dade County Mayor Gimenez found a solution to keep open the libraries that were originally placed on the chopping for the next fiscal year, but only for fewer hours and limited days throughout the week. And library employees will still be laid off for the county to hold the line on property taxes. 

 Palm Springs North Library was initially scheduled for closure, but under Gimenez’s proposal, the facility at 17601 N.W. 78 Avenue will be open for 16 hours a week instead of 40, on Monday and Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Wednesday and Thursday, from 2 to 6 p.m. 

The library will be closed Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Other libraries that will share the same schedule are Coconut Grove, Concord, Country Walk, Edison, Fairlawn, Hialeah Gardens, Lakes of the Meadows, Lemon City, North Central, Opa-Locka, South Shore, Sunset, Tamiami, Verrick Park and West Flagler. 

 The Miami Lakes Library Branch, 6699 Windmill Gate Road, which was not scheduled to close, will have the same hours of operation from Monday through Saturday. However, the county was forced to lay off 169 library staff members to shun a 5.37 percent property tax increase, with the Main Library feeling the brunt of the budget crunch with 23 of 39 employees losing their jobs. 

Gimenez was under a lot of pressure to not raise property taxes but his amended proposed budget to cut library and fire rescue services was also greeted by opposition. In July and August, many countywide residents and firefighters protested the county’s decision outside the libraries and fire stations. 

Gimenez and his staff took note and revised the $4 billion spending plan for 2013-2014. Miami-Dade Commissioner Esteban Bovo Jr., presented a proposal to help mitigate library services impacts to affected areas in his District 13. 

 After the Miami-Dade School Board unanimously approved directing Superintendent Alberto Carvalho to partner with the county to identify school libraries and media centers the community may use in areas affected by proposed county library closures, Bovo urged Gimenez and his staff to work closely with Carvalho to identify the facilities in his district. 

Carvalho announced that five school libraries will be open to serve the public including Miami Lakes Educational Center on Mondays through Thursdays from 3:30 to 9:30 p.m. and on Fridays from 3:30 to 8 p.m. The public will have access to on-site books, periodicals, the internet and other educational resources.