FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Oct. 25, 2021
TACOMA, WASH.— In January of 2021, Tacoma Public Library (TPL) announced it would hold two week-long closures in 2021 and 2022 to meet a pandemic-related budget shortfall. The first closure was held Feb. 21–Feb. 28; all libraries were closed, online access to resources was limited, and higher-earning staff took unpaid furloughs.
The remaining furloughs were scheduled for Nov. 28–Dec. 5, 2021, and two more weeks (dates unspecified) in 2022. Due to a partial budget restoration this month by Tacoma City Council, the remaining furloughs originally scheduled for Nov. 28–Dec. 5, 2021, and two more in 2022, are canceled.
The City Council has agreed to restore library hours with $474 k in funding made available through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). These changes will allow the library to remain open with normal hours and service delivery through 2021 and 2022.
Additionally, the City Council used $350k in ARPA funds to restore funding for the Library Feasibility Study, opens a new window, which will allow TPL to study the needed library services on the Hilltop and Eastside. The study runs from fall 2021 to June 2022 with many opportunities for community input.
"Understanding the options for restoring services to the Eastside and Hilltop communities is imperative to fulfilling Tacoma Public Library’s mission. Along with the data collection and analysis the Feasibility Study will produce, it most importantly affords us an exciting opportunity for robust community engagement; engagement that is necessary for capturing and understanding each community’s vision for the future of library services,” stated Library Director Kate Larsen.
"Working together as a community to navigate through the challenges in this phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, access to safe community spaces, as well as tools and resources that help serve the diverse needs of our growing city continue to be vitally important," said Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards. "We look forward to seeing increased usage of our Tacoma Public Library, as well as participation in Tacoma Reads, our citywide reading program. This year, we have selections for readers of all ages that I hope will unite our community in dialogue around race, social justice and healing."
"Reliable access to materials, technology and the internet, as well as our talented and dedicated Tacoma Public Library staff, is critical in Tacoma's ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic," said Council Member John Hines. "Though the past 20 months have kept many of us isolated, our residents have had our library to keep learning and stay connected. These are challenging times, and we are pleased to see the partial restoration of the Tacoma Public Library's budget."
For more information about current TPL hours, programs, and services, visit tacomalibrary.org.
About Tacoma Public Library:
Tacoma Public Library's mission is to empower its community by bringing people together to discover, connect, create, learn, and thrive. Learn more at tacomalibrary.org.
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