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Library board meets with County officials

 

Submitted by the
Henry County Library System
 

  Henry County Library System Board of Trustee Chairman, Gordon Baker and Director Carolyn Fuller met yesterday with Henry County Commission Chairman Tommy Smith, County Finance Director Fred Auletta, and County Manager Jim Walker to discuss the library budget shortfall. The focus of the meeting was to decide actions to cope with the budgetary restrictions.

  Library representatives left the meeting hopeful that a resolution is within reach. County representatives expressed their commitment to keeping libraries open and funded within Henry County. County officials remain hopeful that late fiscal year financial growth will result in additional funds available to close the library budget gap.

  HCLS Board of Trustees were forced in June to decide between closing one branch or operating all 5 branches until the current budget is exhausted, then closing all libraries for the final 3 months of the fiscal year. This recent agreement between the library and county officials that promises a mid-year allotment presents a third option for the HCLS Board of Trustees to consider.

  “If the library were to receive a boost to the budget midway through the year, we would be able to at least maintain current services throughout the year,” stated Director Carolyn Fuller. “However, it’s important that we act in a judicious manner.”

  Henry County Library System Board of Trustees has been working diligently to develop a budget to maintain current library services for the coming fiscal year despite the expected shortfall of $274,358. Because of increased costs for products and services (books, utilities, fuel for the courier, increased health insurance costs, and supplies) the library needs $1,750,000 to maintain the current level of library services for fiscal year beginning July 1, 2014. Although the funding from the County is the same as last year, they are working with the County to secure the additional funding needed to operate the Library System during the second half of this fiscal year.

  The Henry County Library System under the governance of the Library Board of Trustees has been discussing many options for the continued operation of the system. The library system is a county system with primary funding coming from local sources, i.e., the Henry County Board of Commissioners and the Henry County Board of Education. The state of Georgia provides some funding toward the operation of all sources. Much of the software such as PINES, the network, materials, GALILEO, the web hosting, courier services for moving books from library to library, etc. are all provided by funding from the state. Special grants for equipment, construction, and consulting services are also provided by the state.

  The library is currently in the midst of Summer Reading Program. Due to the library’s continued commitment to early literacy skills, there will be no changes in services or hours from June 1st – July 31st. Summer Reading Program offers reading challenges, free educational and entertaining programming for children from birth to age 17 and a separate program for adults. This year also sees the pilot program of Virtual Summer Reading Program to service families with transportation or other challenges that keep them from accessing the educational resources.

 

 

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