The Fulton County library, along with others in the White River region and across the state, have taken a direct hit as a result of state budget cuts, said Donna Hall, Fulton Library Board president.
The regional librarian, Debra Sutterfield, has informed local boards to expect cuts such as reduced hours, reduction in the number of books, audio books and video books purchased, limited story hours and summer reading programs, and reduction of maintenance. Funding has remained fairly steady through the decades until the past two years, Hall said.
In the fiscal year 2001, libraries received $4.9 million. This year the state cut the funding to $2 million. For the year 2003 the projected funding is budgeted at $500,000 statewide, with $24,000 to be shared by 14 libraries in the region.
Hall questions how far that amount can go among the 14 libraries in the six-county region. The exact figures will likely be known after the state board meets in August, followed by a regional board meeting that will determine each county's situation, Hall added.
Each county is governed by a local board, and those directors will decide where the cuts will be made specifically, Hall explained.
She said regional library services include interlibrary loan; reference, selecting, ordering, processing, cataloging and delivering books, audio tapes, video tapes, children's programming, preparation of payroll, budget, expense claims, various required reports for local, state and national levels, and assistance with planning and developing library services.
Hall encourages the public to contact the governor and local legislators to ask that funding be restored for public libraries.