Franklin County Libraries Asking Commissioners to Make Up Funding Gap

Posted at 4:43 PM, Jul 21, 2015
and last updated 2015-07-21 14:14:25-04

FRANKLIN Co. (WTXL) - Franklin County Libraries are in limbo, waiting to see how a loss in funding will affect them in the next fiscal year.

At Tuesday's Franklin County Board of Commission Meeting, Anne Birchwell the Director of County Libraries, took the floor to ask Franklin County to fill in a funding gap left open after funding was decreased from the State Aid to Libraries Grant.

Birchwell says libraries across the state had funding cut but the $21,825 loss has a big impact on the county's two libraries.

She explains that in order to follow Florida Library standards, Franklin County needs to have a minimum of 6 employees to share between the two libraries. Franklin County currently employs 4 and the loss of funding will force Birchwell to move one of those to a part time position. 

In a section of Tuesday's BOC agenda, Birchwell makes a plea for the county to help fill that funding hole while explaining the importance of her staff, "As you review the budget, please remember the library has historically complied with the request of the county for budgetary requests. The services the library provides to the Franklin County Community is not just about books and eBooks. We offer computer classes, faxing, copies, technical support, research help, programs for all ages, and e-government assistance. For the many there is a need for help with Food Stamp application, Unemployment, Social Security benefits, and recently assisting the Oystermen who needed to open e-mail accounts to review video training to continue working. These services require man-hours to assist, as many do not know how to use a computer. This is just one of the functions both libraries provide. We have public assess computer and 24/7 Wifi service available to the community. The staff is trained to assist residents with their needs and work hard."

Birchwell says that she is hopeful that the county will try to make up the lost funding, "We just have to wait and see."

Other counties in the area that lost funding from the State Aid to Libraries Grant are Gadsden with a loss of $63,660, Leon with a loss of $40,815, Madison with a loss of $109,397, Suwanee with a loss of $92,213, Taylor with a loss of $25,057, Jefferson with a loss of $77,477, and Wakulla with a loss of $9,440.