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Girl Scouts protest to expand library hours

Posted at 9:04 PM, May 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-06 23:46:02-04

A group of Flour Bluff Girl Scouts staged a parking lot protest because they’re not happy about their public library closing early three days a week.

Budget cuts forced the Janet F. Harte Public Library to reduce its hours back in November 2017.  Since January, this group of girls made it their mission to force the city restore normal hours.

And you know what?  They’re getting exactly what they want.

The Janet Harte Public Library closes at 3:30 p.m. every Monday-Wednesday, about a half hour before Flour Bluff schools are dismissed.  Before November 2017, the library would close at 8:00 p.m.

“I would use it a lot, we’d go check out books there a lot,” said Lynn Harris, a Girl Scout with Troop 9635.  “I’ve never really used it for homework, but I know a lot of other people would.”

Children weren’t the only ones affected.  Several adults use the library’s computers, but only if they can make it while the branch is open.

“If I come in on a Monday, I’ve got to make sure I get here before 3:30, because it’s not going to be accessible,” said Tracy Crown.

The Harte library was the victim of budget cuts in 2017, when the city library department needed to cut two jobs.  So why Harte, which at the time, was the one of the city’s busiest?

“It just happened to fall that there was a vacancy at the time,” said Laura Garcia, Director of Libraries for the City of Corpus Christi.  “You try to eliminate vacancies before you actually eliminate individual positions where it’s actually filled.”

These Girl Scouts took their complaints to City Hall, and won.  Last week, the city announced the library will expand its hours, but only for the summer.  The city says it’s working on a permanent solution as well.

“We are hoping that we will have a position, a permanent position, by September,” said Garcia.  “We’re pretty confident the hours will be increased permanently, but we are still going through that process.“

Protesters say that’s the answer they’ve been asking for.  They also say they’ll believe it when they see it.

“Say you’re going to do it, then actually do it,” said Harris.  “Then our goal will be completed, it will be good.”

The Girl Scouts also started an online petition to help get the hours restored.  You can find that petition by clicking here.