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EAST PROVIDENCE â€” It's official. The Fuller and Rumford branches of the East Providence Public Library will close their doors for good on Friday, April 27.
The closing of the two libraries is part of the East Providence Budget Commission's change to the library system, which will see consolidation of operations into the main Weaver Memorial Library on Grove Avenue and the Riverside branch Library on Bullocks Point Avenue in Riverside.
"We are sad to announce the closing of the Rumford and Fuller Branch Libraries on April 27, 2012. The current economic climate requires city wide reductions," says a small announcement on the Weaver Library's web page.
The Anne Ide Fuller Branch Library on Dover Avenue and the Rumford Branch Library on Pawtucket Avenue in Rumford, have been longtime fixtures in the city. However, earlier this year, the East Providence Budget Commission, which was established in late December to keep the struggling city out of bankruptcy, announced its plans to close the two facilities as a cost-saving measure.
The budget commission this year has been asking every department head to find additional efficiencies to cut 20 percent from their budget.
As part of the consolidation plan, part-time employees at the Fuller and Rumford branches will be laid off after the transition, and reductions will occur in collections acquisition, the literacy program, and electronic systems.
In his report to the City Council this week, City Manager Peter Graczykowski said the process of closing the two libraries continues, and that materials are being reviewed for distribution.
In the meantime, the Weaver Library's new Web site is expected to go online by the middle for the month.
There was an initial attempt by some residents to save the two branches from closing, including an online petition launched by former library trustee Jason J. Desrosiers
Opponents of the closings say the city has a substantial population without the means to travel to the Weaver main library or Riverside branch and that the closings would disenfranchise those residents from library services.
"Overall, this cut is yet another attempt to nickel and dime some savings out of vital city services, which is the wrong-headed direction the budget commission has decided to take when they really need to focus on back-end services and structure first, before eliminating valuable and inexpensive community programs," Desrosiers said in his petition letter. "There may not be the same vocal outrage to these cuts at there are with sports and other programs, but this cut will rip out the hearts of their respective communities just the same."