The Georgia state budget for the 2021 fiscal year was originally slated to reduce funding significantly to the Georgia Public Library System and, in turn, local libraries. However, the majority of the reductions were included back into the state budget before it was approved.
Delana Knight, Director of System Services for the Northeast Georgia Regional Library System, explains the importance of these additions to the 2021 budget. “Although Georgia Public Library System (GPLS) operations will receive an approximate 10% reduction,” she states, “minimal impact will be experienced by local libraries.”
Overall, public library funding received less than 3% reduction. Regionally, a 14% cut to its budget was anticipated. The actual reduction now is less than 1%. Meanwhile, funding for new materials was restored at a rate of $.35 per capita, bringing almost $42,000 into the regional budget.
These restored funds are especially needed during the COVID-19 fallout. The funding means that none of the employees within the four-county region will have to be furloughed or laid-off. Furthermore, the materials monies will allow the region to secure much needed digital resources such as eBooks and eAudio. Because of the pandemic, in-house library usage has significantly decreased during the past four months while digital services have significantly increased.
The libraries throughout are the region are open and are practicing COVID-19 safety precautions. For information on specific hours and services, contact your area library or check out its Facebook page.