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Chicago Public Libraries To Reopen Monday Afternoons

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Library Generic (Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)

Library Generic (Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago public libraries will reopen on Monday afternoons beginning next week.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Friday that branch locations of the Chicago Public Library will be open between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. every Monday during the school year. The libraries will also be open for eight hours on Mondays during the spring and summer when school is not in session.

“By opening branch libraries on Monday afternoons, we are providing students with a comfortable, safe place to study after school, while also making resources available to other patrons six days a week,” Mayor Emanuel said in a news release. “As mayor, I’ve put children and education first and I will continue to ensure libraries are available to students after school.”

In a cost-cutting move last month, Emanuel closed all the branch libraries on Monday and laid off 172 staff.

The mayor had said previously that he only planned to close the libraries on Monday and Friday mornings when kids were in school. But he said the deal depended on an agreement with the union on more flexible hours, and because the union did not agree, the city had to close the libraries all day on Monday to save money.

But a couple of weeks later, the mayor backed off on the move to close the libraries on Mondays, despite the library union’s refusal to make concessions.

The mayor said he would not restore all the cuts in library hours and jobs.

The restoration of Monday offers comes from a shift of more than $2 million, which will allow 90 positions to be placed in branch libraries. Among them are 25 Harold Washington Library Center staff that are being moved to branches, the Mayor’s office said.

Mayor Emanuel late last month also announced the departure of libraries commissioner Mary Dempsey, who had been appointed by retired Mayor Richard M. Daley in 1994. She has been replaced by Brian Bannon, who had been chief technology officer at the San Francisco Public Library.

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