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."