CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Charlotte's main library is under scrutiny as budget cuts have library leaders looking at all ways to cut costs. A worst case scenario could mean moving the library altogether from its uptown location.
The county owns the main branch but it costs a lot to operate. A new committee started work Monday to figure out how to maximize the use of the popular uptown library.
Budget cuts means the main branch of Charlotte’s library is closed on Mondays. But could the whole branch close permanently? That's what a new committee is trying to figure out.
“I didn’t understand the rationale for it,” said committee chair Jim Palermo. “We have spent so much of our effort building things in the Center City.”
The committee chair says a main library in uptown is important to the vibe in the heart of any community, and it’s even part of the reason the DNC will be here.
”Institutions would not be picking Charlotte if we were lame, and we’re not. We’re spectacular, so you don’t want to do things in Center City that are going to be detrimental to what we have worked now for decades to build the momentum for.”
But he says there may still be ways to trim costs that could mean leasing out space or moving some services to other locations.
“If there is a way we can do something better to serve the taxpayer, we have a responsibility to the public to try and do that,” Palermo said.
The library basement used to be home to computers, but now there is 8,000 square feet that’s not in use. The rest of the 150,000 square feet are used by people looking for jobs, students doing research and people looking up the state’s history.
“This is about finding the right answer for the community. It isn’t just about finding the right answer for a balance sheet or a profit statement.”
Library leaders say they're considering all options and are open to getting creative.