State leaders to visit Dougherty Co. libraries, evaluate needs - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

State leaders to visit Dougherty Co. libraries, evaluate needs

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Some of the books on the shelves at the Northwest Branch Library Some of the books on the shelves at the Northwest Branch Library
Chairman Jeff Sinyard, Dougherty County Commission Chairman Jeff Sinyard, Dougherty County Commission
Vice Chair Gloria Gaines, Dougherty County Commission Vice Chair Gloria Gaines, Dougherty County Commission
Some of the book shelves in the Northwest Branch Library Some of the book shelves in the Northwest Branch Library
Dougherty County Commissioners during Monday's meeting in the Government Center in downtown Albany Dougherty County Commissioners during Monday's meeting in the Government Center in downtown Albany
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ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

Dougherty County leaders hope to get more state money for the library system that had to shut down two branches because of a lack of funding.

A state senator and two representatives will tour the libraries with county commissioners as part of an annual funding assessment.  The library system has reported an increase in circulation, and county leaders are confident state leaders will like what they see.

Library patrons could soon see changes to their local resource after state representatives tour the Northwest, Central, and Tallulah Massey Branches next week. 

"I think our libraries, right now, are as healthy as they possibly can be.  We've taken advantage of every nickel and dime that's been collected and we feel very good about where our libraries are at this point," said Chairman Jeff Sinyard, Dougherty County Commission.   

Senator Freddie Powell Sims, and Representatives Gerald Green and Carol Fullerton will evaluate the Dougherty County Public Library system Monday morning.   

"It is an important local service that is supported by the state and I think it's a good idea for them to have a look at it," said Vice Chair Gloria Gaines, Dougherty County Commission. 

The state funds approximately 11% of the library's budget.  But county leaders may request additional funds for exterior renovation to the Central Branch and interior renovation to 11,000 sq. ft. of the Northwest Branch to expand services.

"Part of this is strengthening that bond between the local and state elected officials and making sure that we're all working together on the same page," said Sinyard. 

Ongoing budget cuts forced the system to shut down two branches last year.  But commissioners said the worst could finally be behind them.

"We're very fortunate, very, very fortunate to have a library board that's made up of local leaders and folks that really care about the library.  They take it very personal and they have an incredibly wonderful business approach," said Sinyard.

So the folks checking out books from these shelves could soon have more resources at their local library.

County leaders said the system has turned itself around over the last year.  They plan to reopen the Westtown Library Branch by the beginning of the next year.

Commissioners aren't sure how much money they'll get from the state, but they're confident they won't see a reduction.

 

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