Trenton library axed by budget - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Trenton library axed by budget

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Story by Paul Shahen
Eyewitness News Reporter

TRENTON, DADE COUNTY, GA. (WRCB)-- Folks in a small North Georgia town are fighting to keep the library.

But a struggling economy and tight budgets are making that a tough fight.

Right now, Trenton's library is out of the 2011 budget.

It's a tough situation down there. The library knows the city needs to cut its budget, but they say this isn't the best way to do it.

They say cutting back now, could mean the library doors in Trenton closing for good.

"They need to leave the library alone, there's things that kids don't have, there's things adults don't have, the library is one of them that we need," says Kamala Andrews.

You can find Kamala Andrews in the Dade County Public Library two to three times a week, checking out books with her children and using the internet to find a job.

"With the economy being so bad, we can't afford the internet at home, with the library offering a free service, it helps a lot," says Andrews.

Cutting the budget completely would mean closing an additional two days and leaving them with just one full-time and two part-time employees.

Not only does that hurt adults like Kamala, but Lecia Eubanks, director of the regional library branch, says this is detrimental to young students.

"We supplement and partner with those schools, they close at 3pm," says Eubanks. "Where do those kids go for homework and recourses? They come to us, they come to us."

The city will cut a third of the public library's annual budget.

The short-term ramifications have been made clear, but what about the long-term?

"What the state says is we'll give you money, but you have to show that your local community is willing to support it," says Eubanks. "If that support dips down below the previous year, then your state funding is in jeopardy."

The numbers don't lie. Zero is obviously less than last year's $31,000 budget.

If the state funding disappears, Eubanks fears the worst for her Dade County branch.

"We're already on the verge of closing, what we're left with, the 30 hours open to the public leaves us with a staff that's barely able to keep the doors open," says Eubanks.

Trenton's mayor was out of town Thursday, but the city will hold a meeting at city hall Monday at 6pm.

Lisa Eubanks will be there and she's urging you to go.

She says let the city know what that library means to you.

The new budget will go into effect on February 1st.

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