Library closing after county commission cuts funding

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ASHVILLE, Ala. (WIAT) – The St. Clair County Library announced it’s permanent closure date for September 29th through it’s Facebook page.  The post talks about the library employees’ reluctance and sadness saying, “this is due to the St. Clair County Commission’s decision to discontinue funding to the County Library for fiscal year 2018.”

The post also mentions that one employee, Lisa Kirchner, will be losing her job as a result.  “Anyone that knows of possible employment, please contact the library, 205-594-3994,” the post reads.

The library employees didn’t want to talk to CBS 42 for this story.  However, patrons spoke out on behalf of the facility, which had been a fixture in the community for the past 18 years.

“Oh lord, I was so sad,” said library patron Janta Spence.  “Not only is it  great library, they’re my friends.”

The resolution concerning the funding went before the Commission in May.  One portion reads, “Beginning October 1, 2017, in addition to the proportion of the Beer Tax applicable to each library throughout the county, the commission will provide funding from it’s General Fund in the amounts necessary so as to ensure every library within the County receives no less than $10,000 annually (from the Beer Tax and, as necessary, from the County General Funds money).”

One library employee explained that in the previous year they had received about $37,000 from the county and $50,000 from the Beer Tax.

The resolution also mentions, in part, that the Commission feels that maintaining a county library facility in Ashville while the city is simultaneously maintaining a separate, quality facility that services the same patrons is “duplicative” and “not in the best interest of the libraries throughout the county”.

There is another library, one street over from the St Clair County Public Library–but several patrons insisted that having “too many libraries” is never a bad thing.

The Facebook post from the library goes on to say, “There are no words to describe how badly we will miss our patrons.  You are such wonderful, caring, concerned people.”

The last day to check out materials from the St Clair County Library is September 1st.  Then, all of the libraries materials will be distributed to other libraries.  They are asking the public for donations of moving boxes–specifying, about the size of a banana box.  Library Director Judy Douglas will be retiring on October 1st.

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