Crawford County libraries are looking to make $24,000 in mid-year spending cuts after state legislators cut funding to public libraries earlier this year.
Crawford County Library System will make mid-year cuts totalling $24,109, almost 21 percent of the $114,895 allotted to the library system in 2015.
Because the state’s fiscal year begins in June, the system must make the cuts halfway through its own fiscal year, said Crawford County Library System Director Eva White.
"To put that in perspective, it’s a fifth of the book budget. Book prices have went up a lot in the last few years, and we haven’t raised our book budget in a while," White said.
The money also totals about half the audio-video and e-book budget, and equals the yearly starting pay for about 1.5 employees, White said. It’s twice the budget for the summer reading program, she said.
White mentioned these examples, she said, because those are most likely the areas where cuts will be made - books, audio-video or salaries.
Cuts could mean fewer new books for the libraries, especially special requests from library patrons, White said. The same goes for audio-video and e-books. If salaries are cut, that will mean a change in library hours.
"If we have to cut the salary part, we’ll have to cut the hours that we’re open," White said. "I don’t want for anybody to lose their job completely, but it will be hard if they get a salary cut - a cut in their hours."
Part-time employees would "bear the brunt" of any salary cuts made, White said.
Because the cuts come mid-year, they will be made to funding already allocated, White said. They also come at one of the busiest times for the library, during the summer programming.
"We’re spread pretty thin as it is," White said, adding, "It’s not just us. It’s every library in the state of Arkansas."
Arkansas’ 90th General Assembly cut state library funding by 18.84 percent, a total of $1,049,081 statewide. It’s smaller library systems that are being hit the hardest.
Library personnel haven’t yet decided where the cuts will be made, White said. The decision will be up to the library board, she said.
"It’s going to be a hard decision and we hope we can make an intelligent one and keep on doing business as usual, but I don’t see that happening," White said.
Crawford County Library Board’s next regularly scheduled meeting is June 14, but White said a special meeting may be scheduled to deal with the budget cuts.
Beside state monies, Crawford County Library System also is funded by a 1.4 millage that brings in $700,000-$800,000 each year, White said.