Amarillo city councilmember Les Simpson discusses proposed changes to city library system

Amarillo city councilmember Les Simpson recently posted information on Facebook concerning the proposed changes to Amarillo's library system in the yet to be approved 2023/2024 city budget. 

Simpson notes the changes would include not filling open positions and adjusting the current hours at all 5 library branches.

"There were rumors that the library was going to be cut by 25 percent. That has not happened.

"The council has asked all departments to look at ways to become more efficient and make the best use of resources. Staff explored traffic and usage patterns and determined there is minimal library usage after 7:30 pm.

"A new schedule proposed for the upcoming budget made changes that results in cost savings, but it also equalizes hours for all branches, which means three branches will be open additional hours," Simpson said.

New hours for all library branches will be Mon-Thurs 9 am to 7:30 pm, Fri & Sat 9 am to 6 pm, Sundays 2 pm to 6 pm. Each branch must be open a minimum of 64 hours per week to maintain accreditation requirements.

“So it’s not going to do nothing to jeopardize any kind of accreditation, and I will tell you our library is it’s respected throughout the state and what they do and as well as in this community, so they do a really good job," Simpson said.

Simpson said the plan also includes a staffing reorganization that will save around $200,000. The budget savings will come from eliminating vacant positions no longer needed due to the new scheduling.

“So there were open positions at the library we said, ‘Well, with this new scheduling, we won’t have to fill those.’ And I think there were a couple of part time positions as well," Simpson said.

Staff at all 5 Amarillo library branches will monitor usage and bring up any issues or problems caused by the proposed changes.

Simpson said the Amarillo City Council devoted over 40 hours to the budget workshops preparing the 2023-2024 budget.

"It was a great learning experience for the new council. The staff and council also had great conversations about ways to improve efficiencies and make sure we are making the most of the public’s investment into local government through taxes and fees," Simpson said.

Dan Butcher

Dan Butcher (aka HP Pundit) is not a Democrat or Republican. He is a free thinking independent bringing you news and commentary with a dose of much needed common sense.

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