Cobb mothers and fathers: Save your public libraries!

I was outraged to read that the Cobb County Commission chairman has proposed closing 13 of the 17 public libraries in the county to help make up for the budget shortfall! (Read the whole plan here as well as some alternative ideas.)

From the AJC story:

“A plan by Cobb County’s Commission chairman would include a tax increase, close all but four of the county’s libraries and require across the board cuts in county departments to close a $31. 5 million budget gap.”

“Chairman Tim Lee’s plan includes a millage rate increase for the fire fund, which would move the county’s overall rate from 9.6 to 10.1. The .5 mill fire-fund increase would equal an additional $40 in taxes on a $200,000 house.”

“The plan also calls for all county departments to cut their budgets by 3.5 percent, for a $9 million savings. Another $2.6 million would be saved by closing two pools, two senior centers and most of the county’s libraries. Only the four regional branches — Central, Mountain View, South Cobb and West Cobb libraries — would remain open.”

“Commissioners are scheduled to vote on a mid-year, revised budget plan on Tuesday. The changes will take effect May 1.”

I don’t live in Cobb, but I am still extremely offended by this proposal! This just smacks of non-creative thinking. There has got to be other ways to make up this budget shortfall other than closing one of the greatest resources Cobb communities have – their public libraries!

I grew up patronizing a tiny branch of the Gwinnett County Public library. It was in the basement of another building. It smelled a little funny, but it was our library. I loved perusing the aisles and pulling cards from the paper card catalog system (remember those!). I loved the rocking chairs where I could sit and read while my brother found his book. When the county built the Mountain Park branch that still exists today we thought it was the greatest place in the world.

As a family with three kids, we love our public library and have always been very active patrons. We borrow books, movies and music. We play on their computers and have attended many story times, puppet shows and even magic shows. We go at least once a week. The kids have their books queued up on a personal list. (I have a three-page list of books I want to check out.) They have their library cards and they reserve books online. Some kids beg to go for ice cream; my kids beg to go to the library!

My 7-year-old son had to take his photograph in his favorite place in the community, and he chose the public library!

Closing public libraries hurts all families, but especially those on a budget or just barely getting by. You are DRAMATICALLY and AUTOMATICALLY hurting poor children’s ability to read and learn (and catch up with their more affluent peers) by taking away local public libraries. (Don’t tell a poor person without a car that there is an open branch 15 miles away. That doesn’t help them! Local branches are important.) Kids need access to books to learn to read and to develop their love of learning. Even babies and toddlers benefit from spending time at the library. Thumbing through board books and drooling through lap story times, they are absorbing the English language and ideas.

In tough economic times, public libraries are often the only source of entertainment for families who can’t afford to buy books, buy or rent videos, buy music off the internet, or go out for $50-family movie nights at an expensive theater. As a family that has had two mortgages to pay much of the year, we have ONLY been checking out books, movies and music from the public library! It has been our entertainment savior!

Are there ways to save money within the libraries and not throw the baby out with the bathwater? Sure there are, and Cobb County needs to get smart about it. Which days have the lowest patron visits? Cut back those days. Cut back hours. And I hate to suggest cutting staff and relying on volunteers, but I would much rather see a few lose job then lose almost an entire library system. A few years back I remember Gwinnett County libraries cutting out Sundays. People were mad about losing a weekend day, but at least we had a library right down the street!

I am also sure there are plenty of other things to pare down in the overall Cobb budget other than slashing an entire library system. Will that be harder work? Yes, but tough stuff. That is your job as a county commissioner to make the best decisions for your community not the laziest ones!

Moms and Dads, this is YOUR CALL TO ACTION! You can make a difference. This is NOT a done deal!

From the Save Cobb County Libraries Facebook page. This is how you can help:

https://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/pages/Save-Cobb-Libraries/217131008300310

Prevent the closing of Cobb County Libraries. Send an email supporting the libraries to BudgetComments@cobbcounty.org. Attend the Board meeting Tuesday April 12, 9am.

Description

Without your support, 13 of Cobb County’s 17 library branches will close indefinitely beginning May 1, 2011. Only the Central, Mountain View, South Cobb, and West Cobb Libraries will remain open.

Show your support for the libraries by:
1. “Liking” this page
2. Telling other Cobb County residents
3. Sending an email supporting the libraries to BudgetComments@cobbcounty.org
4. Attending the Cobb County Board of Commissioners Meeting, Tuesday, April 12, 9 a.m. BOC Room, 2nd Floor, 100 Cherokee St., Marietta

Thanks to Erin Grien Thomas for calling the County Clerk’s Office and getting the following information about attending Tuesday’s BOC meeting:

• 10 minutes before the meeting is to start, there will be a sign up sheet to get speaking time.
• 6 slots will be allotted for the beginning of the meeting and 6 for the end.
• Each speaker will have 5 minutes to speak.
• There is not an age limit set for speakers, so even a child would be able to speak.
• No signs will be allowed in the meeting but there is nothing they can do about t-shirts.

Tell us how you use your public library? If you are a Cobb resident what are other areas that you think the commissioners could cut from to help make up the shortfall? What are you observing in your community?

– Theresa Walsh Giarrusso, ajc.com Momania

68 comments Add your comment

motherjanegoose

April 11th, 2011
7:05 am

Times are tough and it appears there simply is not enough money to cover things. I hear this IN EVERY STATE I AM IN.

That being said, I cannot imagine libraries being closed. I have not been to a Gwinnett library in years but when mine were little, we were there EVERY WEEK. We used the Lilburn branch ( 20 years ago) and those librarians where angels. I would crawl down the aisles and look at the picture/easy reader books that I would take home with the kids. I also checked out books for myself.

I have been invited to speak to children’s librarians across the country. I have never been invited to speak to those in GA. That has always been an enigma, to me. I was recently invited, as a special guest, to the library in Wyoming. It was during their weekly story hour. We had fun!

I am curious, what is the percentage of families with say children under 8…that regularly use the library. I am not aware of many lower income families that are frequent library patrons and I wish there was some way we could show them how wonderful it is to be able to check out books for free.

I did not grow up going to the library and really was not a big library patron until we moved here and I was introduced to the wonderful resources we have in our county. Like you TWG, we did not have money then to buy as many books as my kids could read.

Now, I could have my own mini library. I finished two books this past week and left them in the drawers of two hotels, so that others could perhaps enjoy them too. I love the Books for Less by the MOG and have almost $800 worth of trade in value there. I am an avid reader.

READ TO YOUR CHILDREN and get them to love books themselves….LITERACY IS IMPORTANT!

BShepC

April 11th, 2011
7:31 am

Well we live in Cobb so this will obviously affect us. They have already closed the libraries on Sundays…did that months ago. We are lucky I suppose, we live down the street from one of the locations that will stay open. But I cannot imagine how crowded it will be with most of the libraries being closed. Mountain View is already a very busy library and in the summer it is insanely busy with kids. There have been times I’ve left with my boys because it was too busy!!!

I too grew up going to the library all the time, my mom has her degree in library science! I am a big believer in reading and using the library to it’s advantage. But having said that, I do understand the need to make this sacrifice. Everyone has been affected by this poor economy and the county has to tighten it’s belts like the rest of us have. I am not sure of alternatives instead of the library…but as with anything someone else will be upset with the alternative. My question for the chairman would be how long would this be for? They already increased the fine amounts and closed the libraries on Sundays…and I would imagine cut back on staff also.

madmommy

April 11th, 2011
7:34 am

This is just nuts. How are kids going to stay on top of studies and younger kids learn to love reading in the first place? I have always gone to the library since I read so much, I can’t afford to spend $20-$40 a week on books, not to mention the space to store them and it really isn’t very green to boot. I am going to spread the word and hopefully make it tomorrow to the meeting.

Going to get started on writing my statement around lunch. Anyone who would like to give ideas or speaking points please post them. I’m hoping to make a few calls to see who I can talk to personally on this matter.

library volunteer

April 11th, 2011
7:36 am

Why close 13? Can’t they group branches by location and have them alternate operating days? Then they can share staff, and the collections at each library will still be available. If branches are closed, then the inventory is inaccessible, even to be transferred to an open location.

Photius

April 11th, 2011
8:08 am

“Outraged”…. “Shocked”… This is the state of America today: everyone is belly aching to cut spending but when the cuts hit home people are “Outraged”. Show up at the County Commission meeting and learn the state of the budget. People actually think you can balance the local budget by getting rid of “waste” but their fiscal condition is far worse than that. Get use to it – this is reality.

If you’re “Shocked” over libraries just wait until they go after your parents SSI and Medicare.

motherjanegoose

April 11th, 2011
8:16 am

Photius….that’s the thing. It is similar to NOT IN MY BACK YARD. I am hearing all sorts of stories of cuts and many do not realize that SOMETHING HAS TO BE DONE. I certainly do not have the answers. Perhaps someone here does?

Joel Cornelius

April 11th, 2011
8:18 am

I frequent my Gwinnett branch next to me, and I’m noticing that its not about books anymore, but people sitting around inside using the internet. I also notice outside a great number of out of county and out of state car tags. Are these users contributing to the costs?

Me

April 11th, 2011
8:36 am

We also live in Cobb and, while we have probably visited a library branch maybe only 3 times, I still wish there were some other method which would allow the libraries to remain open. I honestly don’t have a clue how other parents provide for the reading and learning interests of their children but, as long as there are book stores and online resources, we will continue to purchase what they need. As this may not be an option for all, I will support maintaining the libraries.

lulu

April 11th, 2011
8:36 am

Unfortunately, everybody wants what they want; nobody wants to pay for it. Nothing new there.

I love my public library and I’m there with my family every week. We go through a LOT of books in our family, and buying them all was fine when there were no kids, but we’ve been going to the library ever since. Despite the fact that our library rarely gets new books (except by request) and the building is falling apart, the place is *always* packed.

I doubt that people who don’t use libraries realize how widely used and how important they are. Maybe if they checked out a book every so often, things would improve in more ways than one.

Mimi

April 11th, 2011
8:49 am

I’m very sad to learn that our local library will close down. Not only that, but I’m in Kennesaw and with these closures there will now be NO library representation in North Cobb. Sure our branch is small, but it’s always busy, there are always people checking out books, doing research, going to story time, and using the computers. If anything, it needs to be BIGGER not gotten rid of! This is very sad indeed.

jarvis

April 11th, 2011
8:56 am

I live in Cobb. Too bad the SPLOSH was approved. We could have set up a sales tax that would have just helped our county instead of the mismanaged broke-ass government in Clayton.

@TWG, I remember the old library very well. It smelled just like my dorm room. BIG DAY the day they opened the “New” Mntn Park Library. So long card catalog….hello computers!

Alpha23

April 11th, 2011
9:00 am

OK, threaten us with tax increases and closing libraries…….we’ll threaten you with loss of your jobs next election!!! Or even better, how about a total recall!!!!

Techmom

April 11th, 2011
9:03 am

I don’t use our public libraries but still see the value in them. I used to use the library growing up all the time (military so I could always walk or ride my bike to the library). We have a few libraries in our county but none are conveniently located and the hours are awful so I’ve never set foot in one in 13 years. When my son was younger, I just encouraged him to check books out from his school library or I bought them. My husband and I trade books among friends and since we’re not in college, there’s usually no need for a specific book or multiple books about the same subject so libraries aren’t real useful to us. Now that I have a Kindle, there’s just no point in using the library anymore.

It does seem like quite a waste to close 13 libraries versus trying to work out a rotation system that keeps each open 2-3 days per week though. What will happen to all those books and the buildings? If people are so upset, maybe have a volunteer system is the way to go so that the staff can be limited??

KC

April 11th, 2011
9:04 am

jarvis you don’t know what you are talking about. SPLOST in COBB is for COBB. However, unlike what some ignorant people think. SPLOST was NOT a NEW tax. It was a continuation of the existing tax. Which means that, without SPLOST, the $31M shortfall would have been LARGER.

Jesus wept people….this state is stupid enough already. Close libraries and they will have to find a ranking below 50th to cover the level of stupidity in this “great state”.

Have a great day everyone.

LeeH1

April 11th, 2011
9:10 am

Excuse me, but we need to keep the poor kids poor so we can have a class of low paid workers. The idea that poor people can change their class and inflict the lower class or Gasp!, even the middle class, is a bad thing. We have enough trouble with low-class rappers and ignorant atheletes trying to pretend that with money comes middle class status and respect. Let’s do a better job of keepng these fools in the bottom class where they belong.

If you have to close library branches, just be sure you keep them open in the higher-tax paying communities. That’s where they do the most good.

Willie

April 11th, 2011
9:12 am

Consolidating many libraries into fewer stronger libraries makes sense to me. Libraries are not nearly as essential as they once were. This is a reality that our nostalgic outrage just won’t change. Reductions in the value of homes has severely impacted property tax revenues. Change in the scope of local government is required.
Good for Cobb for not pushing cuts to public safety to scare people into supporting highter taxes.

DB

April 11th, 2011
9:18 am

T: Re your comment: “(Don’t tell a poor person without a car that there is an open branch 15 miles away. That doesn’t help them! Local branches are important.)” Ease back on the hyperbole, there. That’s not the case in Cobb County. The regional branch that is the furthest north, the West Cobb regional Kennesaw, is 17 miles from the furthest south regional Branch, which is in Mableton. The Central Branch is between them, and the Mountain View branch is 7 miles from the Central Branch. Basically, there’s a regional library within a radius of 7-9 miles for everyone in Cobb County. No one is going to have to travel 15 miles for a library.

I agree — opening a library in a neighborhood is always a happy day, and closing one is always a black day. But when you start fiddling with rolling closings, etc., attendance drops off dramatically because people get confused over when the library is open or closed. It’s just a sign of difficult times that Cobb is having to consider this — I’m sure it wasn’t an idea that was considered lightly. It may not be as convenient — but these are not convenient times.

Robert

April 11th, 2011
9:23 am

To communicate more effectively, use more exclamation! points! ! !

Warrior Woman

April 11th, 2011
9:28 am

I don’t understand how a “3.5% across-the-board” budget cut can result in closing 76% of the libraries in the county, especially when the libraries are only about 3% of the county budget as it is. I also find the distribution of Lee’s proposed closures very suspicious. I’m appalled that other solutions are not being considered, such as rotating closure days at the libraries, furloughs, deeper cuts that are truly across the board, etc.

Hypocrite Hunter

April 11th, 2011
9:29 am

News flash…public libraries are obsolete. You may also have missed that Kennedy is no longer president. Every public library is now available on every computer screen in the world. If you want to have a community play pen, pay for it.

Ten years ago a Blue Ribbon School Committee observed that school and public libraries should be combined, with only a fraction of the resulting savings being necessary to keep school libraries open after hours and additional security and sectionalization for school kids and visitors. The entrenched bureacracies have zero interest in realizing efficiencies, and would vastly prefer to tell us that underserved communities are going to fail to learn to read and then grow up to be criminals, or predators will suddenly infiltrate our school libraries…get a grip. The world has changed. You don’t need multimillion dollar overheads for reading anymore.

DagnyT

April 11th, 2011
9:29 am

I saw a sign in the Mountain View library that said if you vote for the SPLOST you’ll increase library services. The SPLOST was passed and weeks later they’re talking about closing nearly all of the libraries. So where is the SPLOST money going?

Mary

April 11th, 2011
9:30 am

Last time I looked 7-9 miles is 14-18 miles round trip. Certainly a long trip for anyone. Cobb County, like so many metro counties has spent its way into this mess and has done little to address the core needs of the county. People learn about varied hours; it’s really not that hard. It’s obvious that it was considered lightly, since at two of the branches, the county will have to continue to pay rent on buildings that are not being used.

Concerned Aunt

April 11th, 2011
9:34 am

lulu- Which branch do you use? New books go out every day but there is a distribution based on library size. If your branch is small they may not get as many books as larger branches because there isn’t as much space for them to be put on shelves. Your best bet is to watch for new titles that are coming out and to put holds on them, or to visit a larger branch every once in a while. :)

As a library employee, I have no problem with a few furlough days if it means I can keep serving the public. I can’t imagine how it will be if they vote to close 13 libraries. I’m betting a lot of people will simply stop going, especially if they don’t have a car (either don’t own any, or only one for the whole family and one person uses it daily) and usually walk. I have seen many children who walk to the library after school hours; where will they go when the nearest library is miles away?

My sister also plans to home school her children. It can be very expensive to purchase learning materials, so I’m not sure how she will do this if the libraries close and the materials are inaccessible (whether checked out or trapped in a closed building). They already use the library so much for story time a learning activities but may have to forfeit that if the branches close.

Monroe Burbank

April 11th, 2011
9:41 am

Lots of people screaming about reducing spending these days. This is what happens when you reduce spending. You’d better get used to it because it’s going to get a lot worse than this.

Cindy

April 11th, 2011
9:47 am

Perhaps libraries seem irrelevant to those that have the money to buy books or download kindle books, but a large portion of Cobb population can not afford to buy books, don’t own a computer or can not afford internet service. Libraries support our democratic way of life. Access to information for all citizens. Access to education for all citizens. So many people are out of work. Libraries allow these people to apply for jobs (the majority of job applications are online), type resumes and cover letters, learn computer skills, access job boards. Children’s reading programs are vital for literacy education.
Have you been to a Cobb Co. library lately? They are packed.
There is a growing attitude among Americans. It’s not about supporting the community anymore. It’s not about quality education anymore. The closing of these libraries is just another death knell of our society. Just another sign of how weak, passive and stupid people have become.

M1chelle

April 11th, 2011
9:53 am

Thank you KC for your comment. Some people love to turn an issue around to fit their politics. SPLOST is a conitinuation of the same tax. Cobb County SPLOST is for Cobb County. I will send a letter in support of keeping the libraries open and hope that all who support the libraries will do the same.

shaggy

April 11th, 2011
9:59 am

Unless you are ready to bear MUCH more taxation, get used to pay as you go.

The house of cards, real estate market, which generated gobs of tax money, is OVER. It never should have happened in the first place. Face it, some people never should have pursued home ownership, and the crooks who were getting commished, should be in prison for providing the “dream drug – home ownership on minimum wage”, except it was all legal and won politicians voyes. Otherwise, it is known as a con game.
It would be nice if we could get that money from manufacturing, but we sold that out long ago for the wonderful “service economy”, and our kids can’t compete in the tech industry, because they want to be either a rap star, athlete, or American Idol…now, who let that happen?

There will be pain, and it’s not going away any time soon..

Warrior Woman

April 11th, 2011
10:05 am

@DB – While TWG may have overstated the distance to a local library under Lee’s closure plan, 7-9 miles is a long distance for someone without a car.

Warrior Woman

April 11th, 2011
10:09 am

Theresa, one of my 2 comments this morning seems to be caught in the filter.

Kristia

April 11th, 2011
10:16 am

I am not at all surprised about the closing of the 13 library locations in Cobb County. The cuts will continue to run deep. The sad part is the library has been a wonderful place of learning. There are many factors that have caused this problem. I do believe the internet with more and more reading material on-line, has made the library out-dated. When I came to the library I noticed more people on the internet instead of reading the books. Technology is a wonderful resource, but at the same time it has changed things in dramatic a manner. When the library closes more workers will be out of work. Again, no jobs, few taxes paid. No work, no jobs, and no taxes paid. We live in a world where basic family values are not important. The middle class is about family life and family values. The middle class has paid the taxes, now the middle class is going away. The American citizens need to stand up and say, “we have had enough”. Yet,most people that I tried to inform are not interested. They just could care less. Closing of the 13 library locations is just the start of deeper cuts. What will happen when Medicare and Social Security is taken away because these funds have not been handled properly? Again, I am not surprised when our Federal Government is about to shut down. What? Where did the taxpayer dollars go? Now, is it time to care, stand up and speak out? Wake up, come out of your slumber? If the American people come together and speak out as one voice we will be heard. Please the time is now. If our Federal government is in trouble, state government is in trouble, as well. It is difficult to collect state and federal taxes from a middle class with few jobs, and the citizens still working are paid less these days. Yet,our living expenses keep going up. We must hold our elected politicians accountable for their actions. Again, THE TIME IS NOW!Care about the future of your children, grandchildren, and come together to solve these issues and problems. The children and grandchildren who exists today are here because the choice was made to give them life. Now,what kind of world will they grow up in? Children should be allowed to be children. Loved and nurtured into strong adults who can stand for the values that really matter. Turn off your televisions, turn off your computers, turn off your cell phones, come out of you houses, work places and stand in the street all over America and come together. Do not march on Washington, stand in your own community and neighborhood, and stand for the rights of all Americans. Citizens of this country who have the right to speak out! We need to all join hands in American and form a human chain, of hands all over this country. One day dedicated to speaking out with one voice.I bet your local and federal government leaders will listen then. Then maybe they will represent the people of this nation. Citizens make business, business makes for government. Wake up! The Time is Now!

barbie

April 11th, 2011
10:20 am

What a sad day it is when libraries are closing to whittle down a budget that has used and abused tax money in so many useless ways. My family and I use the Stratton Library most of all, as well as, on occasion, the Central Library. Both facilities have wonderful, polite, knowledgeable employees and are always full of patrons. Four libraries for a county the size of Cobb is absolutely a horrible so-called solution to a budget deficit.

JJ

April 11th, 2011
10:20 am

We were in a library just about every week when I was growing up. Both of my parents were avid readers. My mom’s house is an extension of the DeKalb Country LIbrary…..LOL.

When my daughter was younger, we were at the library all the time. They had great programs for the little ones, and we checked out at least 4-5 books a week. I read to her all the time, then once she started reading, she read A LOT!!!

I haven’t been to a library in years. I get all my reading material from my mom or from friends. I’m starting some Eugenia Price books about St. Simons Island…….I got the “Georgia Trilogy” from my friend yesterday and I plan to start the first book this afternoon! Since I one day plan to live in SSI, I should know the history….

DB

April 11th, 2011
10:26 am

@Warrior Woman: That may be — but let’s face it, how many people actually WALK to a library now? Maybe a few that live across the street — but I would hazard a guess that 99.9% of the patrons drive. Sit outside a branch library and count the walk-ups – you’ll fall asleep of boredom waiting for someone to walk up.

I really like the idea of adapting public school libraries as branch libraries — that’s creative thinking!

justmy2cents

April 11th, 2011
10:34 am

We live in Cobb, and I couldn’t tell you where the nearest library is located. My girls check books out from the school media center, and use their laptop when they need to research projects. Prior to the start of summer, I stock up on books from the book fair to keep them in their mandatory 30 min. reading time each day.

The libraries I do pass by around town usually have pretty empty parking lots.

shaggy

April 11th, 2011
10:38 am

DB,

“I really like the idea of adapting public school libraries as branch libraries — that’s creative thinking!”

That would have costs, plus do you really want to have anyone just walking up to a schools during operating hours? Molestors come to mind, and twisted psychos that want ot hurt children would be given a reason to visit..”I’m going to the library officer sir”.
Bad Idea.

mom2alex&max

April 11th, 2011
11:03 am

Yeah I’m not too keen on the idea of school libraries becoming public libraries. First of all, those books are mainly for school aged children..so they wouldn’t meet the needs of adults. Second of all, my guess is that at least half (AT LEAST) of the library patrons go there for the internet. I’m not gonna judge, I am on the internet right now. But I sure don’t want some random adult sitting in school computers where my children go. No thanks.
And third of all, my kids’ school library is supported HEAVILY by the parents, the PTA, and the school’s foundation. Many, many of its resources were paid for by the parents. I’m not sure I want random adults using those resources either. Sorry.

Finally, I can see the fiscal need to close down 3, 4, maybe even 5 libraries. But 13??? As of 2006, there are over 600,000 people living in Cobb Co. It’s over 300 square miles in size. Five libraries to support all that??? Not enough. I can get on board with consolidating some, reducing hours/days, what have you. But closing 76% of the total libraries? That’s asinine. And don’t talk to me about money. If Cobb Co was interested in saving money, it would void the property exemption for seniors, it would reduce the GROSSLY bloated central offices, and get rid of useless employees. This is being done to punish the most vulnerable.

AngryRedMarsWoman

April 11th, 2011
11:07 am

“I’m noticing that its not about books anymore, but people sitting around inside using the internet.”
That too has been my experience at my local library.

“7-9 miles is a long distance for someone without a car”
I ride my bicycle 15 miles or more a day on weekends “for fun” and have biked to my “local” library that is 7 miles (one way) from my home. As a child I biked or walked to the village library almost daily in the summer. Folks who want to use the library will find a way to get there. Besides, Cobb has a great virtual library that you can use without even getting up off your couch. As for the children, they can use the school library – and did you know that there are quite a few used book stores in the county where you can get most children’s books for $3 or less and then trade them back in for store credit and buy more?

Steve

April 11th, 2011
11:07 am

Thank you for this post, as a Cobb library employee, resident and lover of libraries I really appreciate it. Many library employees were expecting and support furlough days by all county staff instead of this porposal which came as such a shock. According to the county’s 2011 budget update, 3 furlough days by staff would save the general fund $2 million which also according to their own figures in the same report is roughly what would be saved by closing the libraries, senior centers and aquatic centers for the remainder of the fiscal year. Three days pay could be absorbed over five months by all and no hard working loyal employees would need to lose their jobs and residents needed and loved services would remain open. I hope this is being considered and will be chosen instead by the commissioners.

Jellyfish

April 11th, 2011
11:09 am

I took my daughter to the library a few weeks ago – we stopped going years ago as the location closest to us was undergoing construction and the hours were not convenient. She would just use the library in school. So when I took her a few weeks ago – they told me she had an overdue book from like 1999 and that I owed them $43 for a paperback! They would not accept the book even if we had it. I told them I could not remember even if we did have it. They said they mailed me a card….How do you argue something like that!? Absolutly ridiculous!!

JJ

April 11th, 2011
11:48 am

Hey TWG – Here is a great topic…..I found this on Drudge Report.com

“Chicago school bans some lunches brought from home”

In an attempt to prevent children from making unhealthy choices…..PA LEASE!!!!!

I would be furious if our schools did that.

jarvis

April 11th, 2011
11:55 am

I’m right there with ya JJ.
I’ll feed my kid what I damn well please.

Angie

April 11th, 2011
12:12 pm

I have a nook but still patronize my library regularly. Even though popular titles are available electronically, they are still $9.99-12.99 each. I am not paying $10 for a book I can easily check out for free from my local library. I download hard to find or free materials for my nook and use my library for popular fiction. I don’t live in Cobb county but I can understand the outrage. There have to be more creative solutions than automatically closing branches.

HB

April 11th, 2011
12:33 pm

Angie, are you checking out ebooks from your library or paper books? My local library has a lot of titles available to download as Digital Edition PDFs — the file ceases to function after a couple of weeks (I don’t have to remember to return them — poof! they’re gone). I’ve checked out several and read them on my iPad. They have downloadable audio books too and a lot of streaming music collections. Overall, I’m very impressed with how libraries are stretching beyond the brick and mortar model to serve their communities both onsite and digitally.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

April 11th, 2011
12:39 pm

Twitter reporting Cobb commissioner has gotten 3000 emails — keep them coming — they need tens of thousands to ditch this terrible plan!!!! See email address above

Tiger Ochocinco Mellencamp

April 11th, 2011
12:44 pm

@Photius…I for one can hardly wait until the government goes after SSI and Medicare. It HAS to be done. I’m voting TWICE for the first politician who actually has the stones to adjust the retirement benefit age closer to the expected life span that existed when SSI was initiated. About three years back then. That has now stretched to 9 years. The politician who says that along with means testing SSI and decides that Medicare will not be available for end of life exorbidant costs just to make sure a 85 year old with a terminal illness makes it to 86 hooked to every medical contraption known to man is going to show me he/her cares more about solving the problems than keeping a job.

TWG said “I am also sure there are plenty of other things to pare down in the overall Cobb budget other than slashing an entire library system. Will that be harder work? Yes, but tough stuff.”

You forgot to mention that you don’t provide any REAL solutions, just that the county is lazy for not coming up with a different one….talk about lazy. Do you realize how much $31.5M is? Sure…it doesn’t sound like a bunch when you say it real fast…but that is A LOT of money. Most of us are trying to hit $3M over a LIFETIME so that we can retire…and you basically scoff at $31.5M in one year. Seems to me you need to realize the role of government is not to provide a library at every corner. Cobb County will still have libraries, they just won’t be that conveniently located, but I bet you they provide a more efficient service. Sounds to me that some may be cannabalizing others. In business, when this happens we do just what Cobb is doing. On one hand everyone wants gov’t to operate more like business…and then they get crucified for doing so. Seems at best short sighted…at worst hypocritical.

1911A1

April 11th, 2011
12:57 pm

Poster “mom2alex&max” mentioned the sacred cow that no one else is looking at: bloated government payrolls. From local to federal, most of our tax dollars are going to paychecks of government employees – bureaucrats – many of whom are friends or family of politicians. Very little of our tax dollars go to the actual “end user” target, regardless of the social program (pick your favorite target: welfare, Medicare, Medicaid, etc., etc.) The vast majority goes to pay these beneficiaries of nepotism who are paid a handsome salary and exorbitant benefits to count paper clips all day.

Tiger, I’ll vote twice for the first politician with the stones to go after THAT sacred cow!

DB

April 11th, 2011
1:31 pm

Re: using school libraries. Cobb County elementary schools are out at 2:20. It might be creative to construct the media centers in such a way that the public has access to them from, say, 4 until 9. Just thinking outside the box . . . There’s an elementary school near all residents. Not saying that it’s something that can be implemented immediately. But let’s face it — there are hundreds and thousands of dollars invested in media centers all over the schools, and when the school closes, all those resources are locked away.

Don’t get me wrong — I love libraries — worked in one for years. But having worked in a school library that served middle and high school kids, I saw just how little books were actually checked out. Computers were in hot demand, but books? Not so much. Somewhat different in elementary school, but once they get to middle and high school, they have so much reading they have to do in class, it’s hard for them to carve the time for outside reading. I just thought it was a neat idea, not something to immediately dismiss.

shaggy

April 11th, 2011
1:31 pm

“Cobb County will still have libraries, they just won’t be that conveniently located, but I bet you they provide a more efficient service. Sounds to me that some may be cannabalizing others.”

You are right, but since you don’t live in Atlanta suburbs, you don’t understand that convenience is the only thing the suburbanites here (is it any different anywhere?) care one willy about. That is why you see itty bitty women driving huge useless vehicles 1 mile to get i/2 Gallon of milk. They won’t walk or wait, and crank the behemoth at a moment’s notice for the journey to Kroger…no matter that they passed by there earlier, coming from the mall. The men are just as bad, running to the neighborhood pro shop for a new driver…their seventh, with the promise of helping them get into double digit golf scores.
Now that the property tax cash cow is teats up, many of those conveiniences must be…ye gads, paid for. Of course, they had to be paid for before, but development boom money proved a tasty pill for county tax coffers. Heck, they built scores of subdivisions before they built freakin suitable roads to get to them. Why you say? Tax revenue. Piles of it.
Because our corrupt government will not take on tough choices (they only take on political ones) things are going to get worse, a lot worse, and thousands of emails sent to the comissioners won’t be generating one cent.

mom2alex&max

April 11th, 2011
1:58 pm

DB: I’m not sure that would work either. Most elementary schools in Cobb Co run after school child care programs. That means that there are lots of kids present in the school after 2:20; and what’s worse, there are not as closely supervised as during the day. So the potential for a dangerous situation is present even more in the after school hours. I’m sure most parents will also say no thanks to that one. i know I would.

Again, can we please take a look at SALARIES before we go on closing services? I want to see how much money everyone makes that’s on the public dole. EVERYONE. Then, and only then, will I consider trimming government services.

lulu

April 11th, 2011
3:00 pm

@Concerned Aunt – I’m in south Atl so we have a lot of small libraries. I know I’d get better results if I utilized the hold system more often than I do, but I always manage to find something to read anyway :) I could buy books, but I rarely do anymore as I tend to hoard them, and my shelves are overflowing already.

It’s insane to me to hear people say that libraries are obsolete. My family uses a number of different libraries and I’ve tutored in many others, and one thing they have in common (which seems to be a repeating theme on this thread) is that, regardless of location, they always seem to be full.

Everybody wants low taxes and quality services, and it just plain doesn’t work that way. We can argue from here to Sunday about which services should be cut, but if you reduce the amount of money coming in, you’re going to have to cut back on services – and in Georgia, we seem to prefer that our cuts adversely affect school kids and families of low SES. It’s hard to be justifiably angry when the people that we elect based on their promises of lower taxes respond by cutting funding to things that we want or need.