New Effort Aims to Save Hartford Library Branches

A new effort aims to keep all Hartford public libraries open after the budget crunch led to proposed closures earlier this year.

An ordinance will be proposed at Monday’s city council meeting that looks to replace the current Hartford Public Libraries Board of Directors, with the hopes that the move will keep all ten libraries open.

Earlier this year the current Board of Directors announced that due to years of flat or decreased funding, that the current system was no longer sustainable. The plan was to close Goodwin and Blue Hill branches and to make the Mark Twain location a mobile library. To offset that, the other locations would increase their hours.

That plan was supposed to go into effect earlier this year, but after backlash, the board decided to delay the move until Dec. 31.

City Councilman Larry Deutsch said it’s imperative to keep all the libraries open, so Monday he’ll propose establishing a Department of Public Libraries.

A Board of Trustees appointed by councilors and the mayor, he says, would work closely with the city and community, and hopefully come up with a plan to keep all ten locations open.

"Being able to walk to a branch learn and talk to friends and be in a safe place summer or winter and some of the kids get lunches it's very important. it helps the neighborhood function and you can't just ask them to go and take a bus to another neighborhood," Deutsch said.

The councilman said the presumed public hearing on the ordinance would be on December 18. 

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