County: Budget cuts will not force Manatee libraries to close

MANATEE – County government officials today said needed budget cuts will not force them to close any of the public libraries in Manatee County.

In response to a number of public inquiries regarding the future of Palmetto Branch Library, 923 Sixth W., officials today said there is no truth to the rumor that the library will be closed.

Manatee officials must reduce the coming year’s budget by $25 million, prompting County Administrator Ed Hunzeker to warn of impending cutbacks in quality of life services. And while reduced hours at libraries remain an option, closing any of the six libraries in the county library system is not under consideration, according to a news release from the county.

“There are no wholesale closures planned for any public libraries,” Deputy County Administrator Karen Windon said in the news release. “We’re looking to see if there’s a need for reductions to operating hours, but those decisions will be based on a holistic view of the library system.”

Ultimately, Manatee County Commissioners will decide where hours are reduced or where cutbacks are made.