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Budget Forces Library Furloughs
Friday, 04 September 2009

September 4--  Dusty Gres, director of the Ohoopee Regional Library System, reports state budget cuts are forcing some furloughs which will result in the closure of the system's libraries for three days.  She issued the following statement.

"At the regular meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Ohoopee Regional Library System the members discussed the current budget crisis facing the affiliate libraries in Toombs, Tattnall and Montgomery counties, due to the State funding reductions this year and in the previous several years; the Board also discussed the need to comply with state mandated furloughs for the professional staff.

In response to the state furlough requirements, the Board has determined that all member libraries of the System will be closed on the following days:

Monday, September 21st, 2009;

Monday, October 12th, 2009 (Columbus Day);

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009, the day before Thanksgiving

As is the policy of the library on any day the library is closed, there will be no materials due on those days. Outside book drops are available at all branches for items, other than videos and DVD’s, to be returned.

If necessary, and if additional furlough days are ordered in this portion of the fiscal year, the libraries will close December 31st, 2009, the day before the New Year’s holiday.  Furlough closings for the second half of the 2009-2010 fiscal year are planned for individual days in January, March, April and June of 2010. 

Regional Board Chairman, Larry Threlkeld stated, “We are extremely grateful for the continuing support we receive from our local city and county governments in the three counties of the region, as well as the Boards of Education in Tattnall and Montgomery counties. However, more than 65% of the library system's budgeted funds were from the state.  Severe cuts in state funding over the last several years, and the requirement to comply with the mandated furlough of the librarians, has seriously reduced the available operating funds.”

According to System Director, Dusty Gres, “The use of the libraries is increasing steadily; we are busier than we have ever been before.  However, we are operating on income at the level of the late 1980s and early ‘90s. For example, our book funds for the year have been cut to only 20 cents per capita, and we have had to cut several full-time positions. Thankfully, local funds are enabling us to continue to provide basic services, but we are running drastically short and are currently operating at a deficit. We are relying on our local government support just to keep the doors open.

We have been warned there may be additional state cuts and furloughs.  The library staff sincerely hopes that we will be able to continue to provide the current level of library activities including books, reference, research, and access to computers and the Internet, without any further closings or forced reduction in services. We welcome cash donations, particularly to the book fund; we remind everyone that all donations to the library are tax deductible.”



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