May 16, 2022

Atlanta: “Metro Libraries Cope With Money Wows”

From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

Just a couple years ago, the DeKalb County Public Library wasn’t only expanding, it was expanding in two languages.

In early 2010, DeKalb County library officials planned to transform an empty storefront near Plaza Fiesta on Buford Highway into a new branch catering to the burgeoning Hispanic community.

They called the project “Northeast Plaza” and envisioned a community gathering place with bilingual staff, ESL classes and shelves filled with books in English and Spanish.

By the end of that same year, they were no longer pushing for expansion. They were fighting to survive.


It’s a familiar story line for libraries everywhere: money to build, but not to operate.

Fulton County plans to build eight new libraries and expand, renovate and consolidate its existing branches in a massive 10-year construction program, but for now doesn’t know where it will find the estimated $8 million per year needed to staff and operate them when they open.

In 2005, DeKalb voters approved a $230 million bond referendum that pumped $54.5 million into the library system. The bond money paid for one-time constructions costs. That included things like new auditoriums and Wi-Fi lounges, new sun-lit spaces serving as community anchors.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.