The city’s budget ax is falling again, and this time, libraries would take a big hit.

Under the budget proposed Thursday by Mayor Jerry Sanders, San Diego’s average branch library would have its hours nearly cut in half next year to 18.5 hours a week. Libraries would be open two weekdays and every other Saturday. If approved, the cut would constitute the largest drop in library hours in the last decade, as illustrated in the graphic above.

I created the graphic to help put the proposed cuts in a historical perspective. Libraries have taken some of the biggest cuts in recent years compared to other major departments and closures have a direct impact on the services accessible to residents.

Under the mayor’s proposal, the Library Department’s budget would drop by 11 percent to about $30 million — the steepest decline of major city departments.

Good idea? Bad idea? I’m interested in your thoughts about the mayor’s proposal, so please send me an email or even better, share your comments below so others can respond, too.

Please contact Keegan Kyle directly at keegan.kyle@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.550.5668 and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/keegankyle.

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