The Detroit Public Library (DPL) Commission approved the closure of four branch libraries during their meeting on Tuesday. The locations being closed are the Lincoln, Mark Twain, Monteith, and Richard libraries. They will all be closed on 12/22/11.
In a sign of the severe economic impact Detroit has suffered over the years, the DPL has seen its revenues from property taxes decline approximately 12 percent per year over the last three years. This reduction in finances caused the library to do a reduction in workforce in March of this year.
The library staff has complained that they are stretched way too thin with the smaller workforce and that the best solution would be to close some locations and relocate the staff to the remaining branches. That way the remaining branches can be fully staffed and provide better service for their visitors.
Out of the four locations being closed, two had seen the population in their surrounding areas drop by 40 percent or more in the last ten years. The other two locations were in sparsely populated areas to begin with.
It is always sad to see a library closed, but in the case of Detroit we can understand how the number of locations might have to be reduced as a result of 40 percent less people living in the area. It is truly a sad sign of the times in Detroit.