They will shut the branch libraries so they don’t have to lend out as many books. They cannot operate by using part of the huge amount of tax money the city collects to pay for the libraries, depending on the state for that. Because the state has decided to stop covering for them, the city will next try to create programs attractive to the Federal government. Primarily these programs are in the form of grants and loans for new buildings and new technology. As with the schools, they will attempt to put together a program to satisfy the federal need to build build build. This has the added advantage of giving Menino another chunk of money to steer to favored architects, developers and building contractors.
All great, right? Except to do it, they have attacked the one public service in the city that people really like. This is just one more way that the chase for federal dollars skews the priorities of local and state governments away from providing services and towards establishing money conduits that don’t address local needs.
PS I don’t think the feds should be paying for general operation of the BPL either. I proposed personally to Amy Ryan that the cardholders pay for their cards and make up the shortfall that way. No go. They don’t want us to pay, because then we might have some say.