The Bank of Salem has purchased subscriptions to eight youth magazines for the Salem Library.
The bank sponsored the subscription for three years through Ebsco Industries, a Cincinnati firm specializing in magazine sales.
The bank also purchased magazine racks and binder covers for the magazines. Librarian Sharon Carter said, "We are very fortunate the bank did this for us."
Carter said students will make good use of the magazines because the library has been lacking in both youth and children's magazines.
The magazines include: Girl's Life, Boy's Life, Southern Sporting Journal, ESPN Magazine, Zoo Books, U.S. Kids, Popular Science and Health.
Carter visited with a representative of Ebsco who marketed the idea to the bank to sponsor the venture.
Carter said unfortunately the library is still closed on Saturdays because of state budgets.
Donna Hall, president of the Fulton County Library Board, said the Legislature has restored $4.9 million to libraries. But in order to receive any of the funding the library has to be placed in Category A.
Category A would give libraries top priority to receive funding, Hall explained. With funding being as short as it is, if the library is not placed in Category A the odds of Salem seeing any of the $4.9 million are slim. If the money is placed in Category B then schools would receive the money before libraries, Hall said.
After House Bill 1137 passed in the House it was signed by the governor and is now Act 1042 of 2003. Before passing the House, the bill was amended twice by the Joint Budget Committee, said State Librarian Jack C. Mulkey.
The first amendment restored the governor's budget recommendation for the state library and increased state aid to public libraries from $500,000 to $2 million for each year of the biennium. The second amendment increased state aid to $4.9 million for each year of the biennium and included language creating a separate line item in the Public School Fund for aid to public libraries.
Mulkey said the amount of money the State Library will actually receive will depend on the amount of money released when the Revenue Stabilization Act is passed at the end of the current session.
"We have to keep our fingers crossed, hope and pray they put us in Category A so we can get funding to help all libraries in the state of Arkansas," Hall said.
Hall said if the library receives funding then it would enable the Salem branch to remain open on Saturdays. Fulton County libraries, including the Viola and Mammoth Spring branches, have to dig into their own budgets to help fund regional libraries to pay for duties performed to help county libraries. Such duties include payroll, book orders and categorizing, Carter said.
Hall and Carter suggested residents contact legislators to get funding restored in Category A to the libraries. In addition to contacting local legislators both suggested contacting the following key legislators: Rep. Hershel Cleveland, Rep. Paul Weaver, Sen. Jim Hill, Sen. Dave Bisbee, Sen. Percy Malone; these legislators are all on the Joint Budget Committee that places items in various categories.