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Your Views: Hall County leaders should restore library funding
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To Hall County Commissioners: I write on behalf of the Hall County Library System. I have been honored to be associated with them for several years. I have been able to personally view how well they perform. I have also witnessed the distressing shortage of funds allocated by the county commissioners during this recession.

It is time for you to do the right thing for the citizens of Hall County: Fund the submitted library budget and eliminate library employee furlough days. Currently, all library system employees are required to take 10 furlough days per year without pay.

The employees have no voice. You, as commissioners, have not fully funded the library’s budget request for several years. This has resulted in reduced hours, reduced days of service, and has reduced the number of employees.

Many quality employees have been forced to look for full-time employment elsewhere. There is nowhere left to cut unless we close some of the libraries.

In February, Chairman Richard Mecum indicated that county reserves were growing at a healthy rate. In March, the citizens of the county approved a Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax; having the library included was instrumental in a favorable vote.

All fiscal indicators point to restoring full funding to the library system. The library employees are the only employees in the county that are still forced to take days off without pay.

David Balducci is one of the most renowned writers of our time. He was recently quoted with this insight: “Libraries are the mainstays of democracy. The first thing a dictator does when overthrowing a government is close the libraries. Libraries are full of ideas and differences of opinion, all the things we say we want in a free and open society.”

It is now the appropriate time for Hall County commissioners to help preserve this mainstay of democracy. Fully fund the Hall County Library for fiscal year 2016.

William A. Henderson
Chairman, Hall County Library Board, Flowery Branch

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