Fearful of having to cut hours and services next year, the Decatur Public Library’s director and board chairman asked for more public funding Monday.
Library Director Sandy McCandless and Samuel King asked the City Council at its work session to consider increasing the library’s annual appropriation by $72,000, to $407,000. The library currently operates on a $900,000 budget, of which the city allocated $334,873 and Morgan County $70,000, McCandless said. The rest comes from state and federal grants.
Since the economic downturn, the library’s resources — in particular its free Internet access for unemployed job seekers — have become more in demand.
Last year, nearly 245,000 patrons visited the library and checked out 235,220 items, McCandless said. Parents and grandparents on tight budgets take advantage of free DVDs and videotapes for children, in addition to checking out books and hand puppets. Those who can’t afford a home computer can check their email and pay bills online. The elderly on fixed incomes who have no use for tablet computers can still read their favorite print publications without subscriptions.
Half of the library’s 22 employees are full time. Those who have retired recently haven’t been replaced to save money, he said.
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