The Charlotte Mecklenburg Library system has named a 17-member task force aimed at protecting the system’s future after this year saw the near closure of several branches and reduced staffing and operating hours at all 20 libraries across the county.
The Future of the Library Task Force will be led by Jim Woodward, chancellor emeritus of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and will include Davidson Commissioner Connie Wessner.
Other members of the task force include:
• Jeff Armstrong: managing partner, Eitel and Armstrong
• Robert M. Bisanar: attorney, Ogletree Deakins
• Alan Blumenthal: chairman of the board, Radiator Specialty Company
• Pamela Davies: president, Queens University of Charlotte
• Michael A. DeVaul: senior vice president of organizational advancement, YMCA of Greater Charlotte
• Geneal Gregory: community volunteer
• W.A. Heath, Jr.: Managing partner, Heath Partners
• Carol Hull: Vice president, process design consultant for technology and operations, Bank of America
• Leonora Kaufmann: former director, library and information resources, Carolinas Healthcare System and Charlotte AHEC
• Gloria A. Kelley: dean of library services, Central Piedmont Community College
• Bill Millett: president, Scopeview Strategic Advantage
• Bernie Simmons: retired TV broadcaster
• Scott D. Stone: vice president, Merrick and Company
• Julie Szeker: attorney, Johnston Allison Hord
• Ed Williams: Retired Editor of Editorial Pages, Charlotte Observer
Eighty-seven people signed up for the task, including four from north Mecklenburg county towns.
“The pool of applicants was very impressive,” Woodward said. “With such a vast array of skills and experiences to choose from, we have assembled an extremely talented group that is well prepared to carry out the important responsibility given us.”
The task force will make recommendations to the Library Board of Trustees and the Mecklenburg County Board of County Commissioners to protect the library and its funding in the future.
Earlier this year, the commissioners cut about $10 million or about a third of the library system’s funding.
In July, the Foundation for the Carolinas gave the library system a $75,000 grant to pay for task force expenses, beyond what is donated or provided by library and county staff.
The group will first meet Oct. 20. Its meetings are open to the public, and the group should complete its work by March 1.
Regional libraries gain hours
On Monday, Oct. 4, the county’s six regional libraries, including the North County Regional Library at 16500 Holly Crest Lane, added three more hours to their budget-shortened schedules, library officials said. The hours were added because of volunteers and staff members being shifted to others branches.
The regional libraries remain on a shorter, four-day week, but they’ll stay open an hour later – to 8 p.m. – on Wednesdays and Thursdays.
Also, beginning Monday, North County and other regional libraries will open two hours earlier and close an hour earlier. The new schedule is 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; the previous schedule was noon to 9 p.m.