West Point City Council heard an official request from Hawkes Library – and about 20 library supporters who showed up at council’s regular meeting – of what it will need in the 2013 budget.
Funding of the library, along with Bradshaw Library in Valley, Ala., has been at the top of residents’ concerns at two “listening sessions” held by city council and one budget hearing. The next budget hearing is Nov. 27 before the Dec. 10 vote.
Hawkes board member Debra Robertson said the library needs about $23,000 from the city in the next year. The city gave the library $15,000 in 2012.
Additional funds would be used for a part-time employee that would allow the library to be open more hours. It also would pay for new computers and a salary increase for the the full-time librarian that has been there 20 years. The library has even more needs not included in the $23,000, including maintenance to its building. Hawkes Library is 90 years old and on the national register of historic places.
“The library is a valuable part of West Point’s history, ” Robertson said. “We are quaint in size but essential to the community.”
Robertson provided a petition with signatures of residents who rely on the library for computers and other services.
In the last several years, the library has added several programs including preschool story hour, Junior Friends of the Library, summer reading, a student art competition, and other special events. To do that, it has used its reserve funds, which are dwindling, Robertson said. The library will have to cut services next year if its funds aren’t increased.
“We are not in competition with Bradshaw and we don’t want to duplicate services,” she said. Bradshaw library also receives an annual allocation from the city.
What to do about library services has become a priority for West Point City Council, and it also has received information from the director of the Troup-Harris Regional Library about merging services with the Georgia library system. Hawkes currently is unaffiliated with any library.
Robertson said she also has seen the information from the regional library.
“We can’t make a decision like that without considerable thought,” she said.
Robertson told members of West Point City Council that if the city chose to go with the regional system, it would not be able to support Bradshaw anymore because money couldn’t cross state lines.
Councilmember Judy Wilkinson said she’s appreciated information provided from all library systems: Hawkes, Bradshaw and Troup-Harris.
“What (Hawkes) could do with $22,000 is amazing,” she said.