4/13: Libraries address dwindling funds

It’s not difficult to see why urban library visits have risen dramatically in the recent economy, as government funding tightened. Systems such as Atlanta-Fulton County fulfill a shadow mandate that goes beyond lending books into fields of education, health and personal finance. Yet usage on a per-capita basis remains lower than at other city systems.

Larry Eichel, project director of the Philadelphia Research Initiative at The Pew Charitable Trusts, writes about a study that looked at Alanta-Fulton County Library, among those in other cities. And John F. Szabo, director of the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System, discusses how the system had addressed problems and provided key services.

When did you last visit?

10 comments Add your comment


April 14th, 2012
11:27 am

We have used the library for years. We started checking out books when our children were small and today check out books, DVDs, etc. We appreciate the library having tax forms on hand and great travel books when it comes time to plan a vacation.

Frederick Wasserman

April 13th, 2012
2:45 pm

I like libraries. I just wonder if the county can afford to build, staff, furnish them. Right no0w they’re looking pretty dowdy. Can we afford to add more?

Kenneth A. Johnson

April 13th, 2012
12:12 pm

Libraries are an invaluable resource for our communities. I’ve seen library staff go out of their way to provide quality service to patrons of every demographic category despite dwindling resources, challenging facility conditions, and declining community support. No, the system isn’t perfect, but it won’t get better without community voices speaking out in support of more programs, increased service hours, and better facilities to service our neighborhoods. I hate to imagine a world where a child can’t access free books, Internet, or other educational media. Thank you to the staff in the Atlanta-Fulton county library system for your dedication to making the world a more literate and informed place.


April 13th, 2012
11:10 am

My family and I greatly value library programming. Our local libraries continue to offer an environment our children learn a lot from (and I have never felt unsafe). I agree that any organization has to change with society/technology and appreciate the forethought the Fulton System used when creating the outreach program.

Every Week

April 13th, 2012
9:57 am

I go at least once a week. Saves us a lot of money – books, DVDs, books on tape, ebooks.

The best part is perusing the shelves. This exposes me to much more diverse content than the recommendation engine at sites like Amazon and Apple.

Support your local library. It’s an institution worth keeping.

B Gritz

April 13th, 2012
8:08 am

Truthometer this!

Webby P

April 13th, 2012
7:47 am

do libraries loan books any more? or is it just a co mmunity outreach center?

Jim Duncan

April 13th, 2012
7:43 am

“more than 3.5 million people coming to Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System branches every year ” How do you quantify that when the branches I go to don’t even have automatic gate counters at the door? Sounds like a fantasy number.

Ron Casales

April 13th, 2012
7:40 am

“We sustained hours of operation” If that’s so, why is Sandy Springs open four hours less than last year? Is “sustain” a fudge word, meaning we actually reduced hours?


April 12th, 2012
11:50 pm

I stopped going to the library when it became a day care center for negligent parents.