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10% cut in library hours is possible
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The Manteca Branch Library could be facing a reduction in hours.

According to Dennis Tucker, Library Division Manager for the Stockton-San Joaquin County Public Library System, the decision could depend on funding received from San Joaquin County along with the local municipalities, including Stockton and Manteca, for the upcoming year.

“We’re also looking at other sources including one-time funds,” he said at Wednesday’s state-of-the-budget report to the Manteca Friends of the Library.

Tucker noted that the public library budget is still a work in progress, with a presentation before the Stockton City Council scheduled for mid-May.

He also oversees the branches in Linden, Escalon, Ripon, Tracy and Mountain House, adding that layoffs have yet to be discussed but are possible as a “last resource.”

The budget could be finalized by the end of June, Tucker said.

Locally, Friends of the Library will be leaning on the ongoing support from the City of Manteca to keep most of the library hours intact.

Manteca librarian Debra Furtado is estimating about a 10 percent cut in hours based on what’s happening in Stockton and the other county branches.

“We’ll have to do what makes sense in our community,” she said.

On the previous day, the Manteca City Council, in a proclamation, gave its support for the local library’s upcoming Big Read Month scheduled April 24 through May 30.

The Big Read is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

The National Endowment for the Arts provided the $20,000 grant to the Stockton-San Joaquin County Public Library System in an effort to improve the literacy rate in the county.

The Big Read program, in an attempt to revitalize the role of literature in American culture, includes free books and film series opportunities.

At the Manteca branch, located at 320 W. Center St., the featured book during the month-long event will be the Ray Bradbury classic, Fahrenheit 451.

For more information on the Big Read, call toll-free at (866) 805-READ.