In an impassioned 30-minute address televised countywide on Aug. 5, Miami- Dade County Commissioner Javier Souto charged “the private community with keeping library doors open,” if government fails to do so.”
His comments continued a public outcry against closure of public libraries now reduced to 16 since Mayor Carlos Gimenez announced a Miami-Dade County budget for fiscal 2013-14 that would shutter 22 to prevent a tax rate hike.
“Organizations like Friends of the Library and other community organizations must come to prevent any one of our libraries from closing — they are the foundation of our educational system,” Souto declared.
The Lakes of the Meadow Branch, 4284 SW 152 Ave., in the Meadows Shopping Center, was removed subsequently from the original 22 along with five others outside of Kendall through personnel and operational revisions.
Two of four Kendall libraries slated to close in District 10 are Concord Branch, 3882 SW 112 Ave., and Sunset Branch, 10855 SW 72 St. in the Sunset Strip Plaza Shopping Center. In District 11, two potential closures include Country Walk Branch, 15433 SW 137 Ave., and West Kendall Regional, 10201 Hammocks Blvd. in the Hammocks Town Shopping Center.
The West Kendall Regional is housed in one of 10 rented buildings that the Miami- Dade Public Library system used as a guide to reduce budget costs.
“The county has plenty of open space in buildings it owns to keep our libraries open, rather than paying rent,” Souto said.
Kendall residents will have a chance to voice their views at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 22, when the last of five Town Hall budget sessions is led by Mayor Gimenez at West Dade Regional Library, 9445 Coral Way.