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Library board cuts hours, spars over plans

SUWANEE -- Library board members had trouble reaching an agreement Thursday in deciding how to combat a nearly $3 million in projected funding cuts from the county.

Chairman Phillip Saxton and Board Member Dick Goodman traded jabs over the chairman's proposed solution to beef up advertising and donation campaign efforts.

"This is a distraction," said Goodman during the special called meeting of the Gwinnett County Public Library Board. "You're dealing with this as if this is a cure-all. In the meantime, the funding situation will continue to deteriorate ... and we're sitting here talking about little projects that may or may not work."

Saxton defended the plan: "If we don't do anything, then we can predict that with further cuts our library system ... will be severely impacted. This concept allows us to go to the public and say, 'join us. Help us.'"

In a previous meeting, the chairman outlined the proposal as a means to seek $1 million in donations, another $1.2 million in advertising revenue and an endowment to raise $4 million per year to pay for lost tax dollars.

One measure the board did agree on was a reduction in operational hours for the 15-branch system to offset projected cuts.

Effective Oct. 23, the library will reduce from 53 hours a week to 44 hours, but branches will remain open seven days a week.

Said Library Director Nancy Stanbery-Kellam: "We are at a point where we have to cut hours. Our service is suffering, and we don't have the staff."

Comments

Lucy1 2 years, 10 months ago

OMG...just charge $1 for each hour on the computer.........it's so easy!!!

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Kleve 2 years, 10 months ago

20 computers per branch x 44 hours open per week x 15 branches at $1 an hour = $13,200 to make up a $3 million shortfall... I think someone needs to check out "Basic Math for Dummies"...

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Karl 2 years, 10 months ago

Speaking of "Math for Dummies" that $13,200 figure you stated is PER WEEK. Multiply that by 52 and you have $686,400.

You can apologize to Lucy now.

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Daculan 2 years, 10 months ago

Agreed Karl, Kleve is way over the top. What has happened to civility? Lucy meant well. Solutions come in drips and drabs. Little bits at a time.

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Mack711 2 years, 10 months ago

Sorry folks we have our own computer at home along with a laptop that has a WI-FI connection. Kids also have access to computers at school.

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Kleve 2 years, 10 months ago

More quality "leadership" from the overgrown toddlers placed in charge of the library.

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Rainey 2 years, 10 months ago

You can't charge for computer access. It has to do with the federal e-rate the library receives to help pay for the Internet access.

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rachel29 2 years, 10 months ago

If hours are going to be cut, I hope the hours will be staggered across the different branches. That way, if my home library isn't open at a time I need it, the one in the next closest location hopefully would be. Have you really looked in-depth at staffing levels and how many people are working on each shift? With the customer check-out system and the electronic catalog, I haven't used the services of an actual staff person in years now. Most of the time, they just seem be hanging out at the desk.

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Dacula 2 years, 10 months ago

What's the obsession with being open 7 days a week? 5 days is fine- make one of them Saturday. Then have one day during the wk where you're open late and one day where you close early to make up for it. Of course here in Dacula I'm sure a lot of moms would throw a fit if their free baby sitter closed early.

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3catlady 2 years, 10 months ago

I think it is time for news story about the real reason the previous library director and her staff was ousted. I was at the board meeting called to discuss this and her supporters crowded the meeting room, the ante room and it was standing-room-only. The library board had already decided and many of us felt she was railroaded. We were not impressed with the integrity of the library board and looked forward to a newspaper story probing the situation. None was forthcoming.

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junebug0219 2 years, 10 months ago

Has anyone considered imposing a fee for library cards? Maybe just for adults, kids should be free. Make it a once a year fee of $5.00 or $10.00. I have no idea how much money that would raise but I know that I use my local library often and I would not mind paying a yearly fee for that opportunity. I also agree with the comment about library staffing. I never ask for help and I don't think many other people do either. The library is set up now to be almost self-service so they don't need many employees. I hate for jobs to be lost but I also hate to show up at the library and it's not open!

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