The D.C. Public Library, which reduced hours at neighborhood branches and parked its equivalent of a Bookmobile to save money last year, laid off about 40 employees Tuesday to save a little over $1 million.
The workers - adding up to about 23.5 full-time equivalents - were placed on administrative leave with pay until July 6, according to library spokesman George Williams.
The layoffs come at the same time that Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) is pushing the construction of new libraries. Critics say he is building new facilities that cannot be properly staffed in the face of declining revenues. He has received the same criticism over the new ballfields, parks and recreation centers built since he took office in 2007.
The libraries' hours will not be further reduced but some programs will be eliminated, according to a news release.
"The D.C. Public Library, along with libraries across the country, is facing very difficult economic times," said Chief Librarian Ginnie Cooper in the release. "We realize that the Mayor and the City Council had tough choices to make with next year's budget. Even with these reductions, we remain committed to continuing to provide District residents with the service they need and expect."