Update to my previous post:
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library system has decided not to close any branches after all, but staff and programming will be severely curtailed. After further public meetings, officials came to the conclusion that the public overwhelmingly preferred having all the branches open, even in a depleted state, rather than fewer branches open in a stronger state. After all, once a branch has been closed, it would be almost impossible to open it again; restoring programs in an improved economy would be a much easier thing to do. The reprieve may be temporary, however -- further deep budget cuts are still likely during the next fiscal year.
One heartening note: over the past week the library system has received almost a quarter-million dollars in contributions from the general public, and the fundraising was continuing, with a number of churches, for example, planning to take up collections at their weekly services. Kudos to the people of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County for recognizing -- and standing up for -- the invaluable services that libraries provide.