Lexington libraries laying off 101 part-time workers

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – They’ve held out as long as they could but like so many other things, the coronavirus is taking its toll.

Now, the Lexington Public Library is laying off 101 part-time employees because of the financial strain, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader. The employees were told late Wednesday.

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According to the newspaper, the cuts, which are effective July 18, leave 121 mostly full-time employees to operate the system’s six branches, which are closed to the public but are doing curbside pickup for materials checked out online. The libraries also are providing an extensive array of online programs and materials.

The system recently announced it will reopen its first library — Northside — later this month as the first phase of reopening others at significantly reduced capacity.

“This is really a devastating loss to the library and to our community. We’ve worked hard over the last couple of decades to build a really, really great staff,” library executive director Heather Dieffenbach told the Herald-Leader. “I know that the library is well-loved throughout the community. I’ve heard people say that it’s been a life-saver for them throughout the pandemic. And I know that that’s not because of anything that I have done. It’s because of their relationships with our staff.”