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Banks County Library now closed on Fridays
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Samantha Steverson browses through the shelves of books Thursday afternoon at the Banks County Public Library. Due to budget cuts, the library will be closed on Fridays.

Banks County Library will begin closing its doors on Fridays.

Funding cuts from the county's board of commissioners as well as the board of education have caused the library to reduce its service hours.

"The reality is if you don't have the money, you can't offer the services," said Alan Harkness, regional director for the Piedmont Library System, of which the Banks library is a part. "The (library) board's hope is that it will be of minimal impact to the community."

Harkness said Friday was chosen because it is typically a lower-traffic day.

"Most of the time Friday afternoons are not when kids are coming in to get books," Harkness said.

Harkness said he expects some Banks County library users will now drive out to other regional library branches on Fridays.

"I sent an e-mail out to let (other libraries) know they may end up with busier traffic on those Fridays," Harkness said.

Hall County Library Director Adrian Mixson said Hall County's libraries already receive patrons from all over the region.

"They come from everywhere and use all our branches," Mixson said. "Last time I looked we were getting about 6,000 patrons a year from Gwinnett and about 3,000 from Jackson, and most of those guys are using the Spout Springs library."

Mixson said Hall is one of the only library systems in Northeast Georgia that has not had to reduce days and hours of service because of the recession. Local and state governments have reduced funding to libraries, despite increased use.

"It's been a tough few business years for everybody," Mixson said. "Especially for the library business."

Harkness said computer users likely will be the most impacted by the reduced hours.

"What we see a lot since the economy has gotten worse is computer use has gone up," Harkness said.

Harkness said the library was challenged by low local funding from the start. Banks County provides $7 per capita, compared with the statewide average of $18 per capita.

"Our area has not had high levels of library support," Harkness said. "It has not been as high a priority for the counties."

 

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