Online petition calls for full funding of Whitesburg Library

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An EveryLibrary.org petition took up the cause of funding the Whitesburg Public Library.

Petition organizers say the Whitesburg City Council has refused to provide its share of operating expenses to the West Georgia Regional Library system, which could lead to the library’s closure.

Whitesburg officials say they agreed in 2008 when the library opened to pay half the librarian’s salary and benefits and the city has always cut a check for his half as soon as a bill has been received.

WGRL officials said they were forced to cut the library manager’s hours a few years ago due to rising costs because the city hasn’t increased funding since 2008. hours made the manager ineligible for benefits and saved $10,000.

When WGRL sent the new invoice reflecting the reductions, it billed Whitesburg the same amount it had paid. However, the amount was more than 50% of the new salary, and city officials refused to pay, saying they had never asked the library to reduce its hours and that, per its previous agreement, Whitesburg n was only responsible for half the salary.

The initial deficit was covered by the Carroll County Board of Commissioners and the Friends of Whitesburg Public Library support organization, but now the WGRL says it’s time for Whitesburg to pull itself together.

Whitesburg doesn’t have a large tax base like those cities, city officials said, and most customers live outside the city limits and don’t pay city taxes. And in addition to its share of salary and benefits, the city also covers the cost of insurance, utilities, maintenance and grounds maintenance.

Petition organizers say that despite an increase in the city’s overall budget, members of Whitesburg Council cut the library’s budget from $16,000 to $12,000 in February this year – the bare minimum to maintain the facility in working order.

This amount is not sustainable, according to WGRL officials, and to match the funding level of other library towns in Carroll County, Whitesburg would currently provide $29,000 for the library manager’s salary.

The Whitesburg Public Library, located at 800 Main Street, opened in 2008 with help from the Rural Library Project.

The Carroll County Board of Education donated the land it was built on, the city of Whitesburg committed $100,000 in SPLOST funds, and area lawmakers and WGRL officials secured additional funding through donations. subsidies.

Local residents – including Friends of the Whitesburg Public Library – continued to seek and fundraise to help cover library costs and materials.

Each signature on the online petition, available at https://action.everylibrary.org/whitesburg automatically generates an email to the mayor and council members of Whitesburg, urging the city to fully fund the library for 2022 and 2023.

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