SAN JOSE (KCBS) – An idea to help out cash-strapped libraries in San Jose is being met with both praise and criticism after a city councilman suggested the libraries replace retiring city workers with volunteers.

Councilman Pierluigi Oliverio suggests that his plan could not only save the libraries money, but possibly allow them to be open more than the current four days each week. He said that using volunteers would not lead to any lay offs.

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”Today for example, more than 95 percent of library patrons use a self-check out machine to check out library material,” said Oliverio. “So it’s a much different library than when you and I were kids.”

KCBS’ Matt Bigler Reports:

Some patrons support Oliverio’s idea, including Arturo Paz.

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”That wouldn’t be a bad idea at all,” said Paz. “I would think that would be a good idea because there are a lot of people who do wish that the library could stay open a little longer.”

However, some other members of the city council aren’t crazy about the plan, asserting that it shows a lack of respect for what librarians do.

The suggestion will be taken up at a city committee hearing on January 4th.

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