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Library Chief Briefs Lyons Council
Monday, 14 July 2014

July 14--  The new head of the Ohoopee Regional Library System is making it a point to educate local government leaders about local libraries.

ImageMartha Powers-Jones discussed the Nell Brown Memorial Library in Lyons with the Lyons City Council at its July meeting.

She let the council know that Lyons has a high percentage of library card holders and the library is doing all it can to serve them.

"Our goal is to figure out what the community wants and make sure they have access to it.  We don't want someone to go to Atlanta and wonder why they don't have these services here in Lyons.  We want to make sure that anything you can get in Atlanta, you can get some version of it here," Powers said.

Many people use the library for more than books and Powers reports higher speed Internet service is being installed to help people with quicker access and downloads of material.

"Each of our libraries is switching to fiber service which is incredibily fast," she said.

Powers says funding cuts at the state and in Toombs County are limiting the operating hours of the library system which now only has six fulltime employees.

"We do have a financial challenge.  We are actually operating on 1980 funding levels from the state.  Our local funders are fabulous, but we haven't seen an increase from them in two decades.  In fact, we've been cut by the county about $16,000 over the past four years.  

"I understand times are tight and they have to make decisions to keep the county and the cities afloat.  Our costs have gone up and it does make it a challenge to keep the doors open and to keep our regular operating hours.

"We would have to essentially double our local funding to be open 30 hours a week.  I would like to be open 2-7 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday and 10 a.m. till 3 p.m. Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.  Then we're targeting our morning crowd and young families who like to use the libraries in the morning and we're targeting the after-school crowd and people who work," she said.


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