Proposed cuts could hurt libraries in North Mississippi - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Proposed cuts could hurt libraries in North Mississippi

(WMC-TV) - The governor of Mississippi is proposing cuts to the state's library program, and that isn't sitting well with some.

If the proposed cuts go through, one library director predicts they could be out more than 100,000 books, and could also be forced to cut personnel and hours from the region's 13 libraries in five North Mississippi counties.

James Haynes and his 3-year-old granddaughter Molly Kate were taking advantage of the computer learning programs at the First Regional Library in Hernando on Thursday.

"I love the library," Haynes said. "We've used the services everywhere we've moved."

It won't be long before Molly Kate will be able to read books off the shelves. But when the time comes, will the books be there?

"I have asked my acquisitions librarian to cut $50,000 out of the book budget for this fiscal year," said First Regional Library Director Catherine Nathan.

Nathan said a proposed 15 percent cut would slash more than $70,000 from the budget.

"To purchase books that would be approximately 140,000 books, gone," Nathan said.

For student Evan Adams, stocked shelves are a big reason why he visits the library several times a month.

"It's a very wide variety and many books to choose from and I think it's good for the people because they have a lot of places to go there's many libraries here and bunches of different books," said Adams.

Nathan knows times are tough across the board, but she fears state cuts will place more of a burden on counties and cities to pick up the dropped funding.

"We've always known how to split a pea on a plate but there's going to come a time where the pea is so small we won't be able to cut it," Nathan said.

In a state where literacy continually ranks near the bottom, Haynes believes a house of books is the last place to make cuts.

"We need to make sure our children are provided for it's amazing you should have seen my granddaughter when she got her first library card, and she's only three years old," said Haynes.

Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant's spokesman Mick Bullock released this statement to Action News 5:

"Gov. Bryant's budget recommendation identifies core functions of government and provides legislators with the framework for a balanced budget. This budget has no new taxes, no planned deficits, reduces dependence on spending one-time monies for recurring expenses and sets aside two percent of the state's revenue for the rainy day fund. Faced with the loss of federal funds, an increase in Medicaid obligations and mandated payments for court settlements and debt service, Gov. Bryant issued a budget recommendation that makes efficient use of the state's available resources." 

Nathan says a final decision likely won't come until the end of April. She recommends writing local legislators to voice your opinions.

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