Local Politics

Library supporters argue against Wake budget cuts

Posted June 1, 2009
Updated June 2, 2009

— Library supporters on Monday asked Wake County commissioners not to turn the page on local libraries because of a tight budget.

County Manager David Cooke has proposed a $953 million budget for the 2009-10 fiscal year, which starts in July. The budget holds the line on taxes and would cut spending by $31 million to keep pace with declining revenue during the recession.

Wake County libraries fight proposed budget cuts Backers plead: Don't close book on libraries

The cuts include closing the Athens Drive and Duraleigh library branches and slashing another $1 million from Wake County library operations – about 10 percent of the library system's annual budget.

Library supporters appealed to commissioners to spare the system from the proposed cuts, unfurling a banner signed by scores of children that proclaimed, "We Love Our Library!"

"Please try not to cut back on library hours," said Susan Dunathan of the county library commission. "People need the library branches open. They need the services. This is not the time to take those few hours out of the system."

Leslie Titchner, one of about a dozen library supporters at the commissioners' meeting, said closing a library would heartbreaking.

"I know these are tough economic times, but if the library goes, then these are really bad," Titchner said. "If people can't get books for their kids or for themselves, that's just really hard times."

Commissioners were holding three meetings Monday to discuss the proposed budget. Human services and environmental services supporters also made pitches for continued funding to the board.

"We need more money," said Bill Stanford, a board member for Wake County Human Services.

The human services department has seen a tremendous increase in requests from citizens for aid in recent months, but the draft budget calls for cutting the department's budget by almost $13 million.

Commissioner Joe Bryan said cuts are likely unavoidable because sales tax and fee revenue is down.

"This Board of Commissioners has made it our No. 1 priority that we would not raise taxes this year," Bryan said. "If we are true to our word, there is no other choice at this point in time other than to cut services."

Cooke's budget also calls for eliminating 20 county government jobs and 102 vacant positions.

Wake County schools, including the public school system and Wake Technical Community College, would see funding decrease by 0.9 percent.

The county would put more money toward capital projects, including funds for the construction of a library on Leesville Road, a detention center on Hammond Road and a center for mental health and substance abuse services.


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  • ambidextrous cat Jun 2, 2009

    colliedave: It depends on the type of crime! Stealing, murder,kidnapping and rape are different types of crimes commited by different types of people. Believe it or not ordinary, sane individuals create crime. All of us are selfish and many of us would qualify as evil, but yet not all of us commit crimes. I believe that the majority of people who commit crimes have very low intelligence. Most criminals who rob others are not skilled or educated.

    I've worked at many libraries and the truth is that books are the most important thing at the library. I think that they can do without half of the computers, and reserve the internet for employees only. If people can not buy their own computers or internet they should probably be reading more books.

  • whatusay Jun 2, 2009

    If libraries have to be closed, close them. If I can't afford to pay my cable bill at home I can't watch TV...same difference.

  • hsingmom2my3 Jun 1, 2009

    I think thta if they're looking for ways to save money in the library system, they should remove the computers and free internet service. Our family visits the library weekly, and there are always people playing on the computers while their children are allowed to run wild. The libraries also allow people to have access to any website, even those that may be inappropriate for little ones who are walking by to see. If someone wants to look at that kind of thing, they should pay for their own internet access, not use the library's.

  • NE Raleigh Jun 1, 2009

    Wake County libraries aren't that great anyway. It seems the whole county shares 3 copies of any one book between all the libraries. Several times i needed books for term papers. I several times the book I wanted wasn't at the East Regional Library, but at another location. By the time the book arrived and I recieved a phone call, my term paper was handed in and already graded. Each town needs to fund their own library/libraries. Much like sthe school system, Wake County seems just to large to operate efficiently and should be divided somehow. Close the libraries on Sundays if that would help. Although it's great to have them open must people are just on the free computers on facebook and looking at other nonsense. Like another poster suggested, shorten the hours. Every little bit helps. Ask for a government bailout, our government is already in the car business, maybe they would like to be in the library business too.

  • Pseudonym Jun 1, 2009

    Quote:"As for the Hillsborough Street project: I say, it's about time. As I was driving down Glenwood South yesterday afternoon at 4:30, I saw tons of people walking, eating, socializing in both sides of the street. If only Hillsborough were as active.

    "Glenwood South, Fayetteville Street, Cameron Village, Hillsborough Street…all these help make Raleigh a better place to live. Maybe if the Historic Depot area took off, we'd have a vital, active downtown.
    Lone Voice in the Wilderness"

    First of all, I challenge you to find a roundabout in Glenwood South.

    Second of all, Glenwood South happened naturally through market forces. Restaurantuers, evil developers, even more evil speculators, residents, and other business owners took a chance on some old run-down warehouses and thought they would be cool places to live, work, and meet friends. It wasn't dictated by King Meeker, nor was it paid for with tax money that can be put to better use elsewhere.

  • seeingthru Jun 1, 2009


  • Pseudonym Jun 1, 2009

    Quote:"Crimes are committed out of desperation and ignorance; the more educated people we have walking among us, the lower the chances of someone breaking into your home or stealing your car.

    So, when Jeffrey Dahmer canniballized young boys, he was just desperately hungry? When Ted Bundy raped and murdered young women, he was ignorant of their cries for help? Not buyin' it dude. Crimes are committed out of a heart for evil, not desperation. I've been in desperate times before, but haven't committed a crime. Why? Because I listened to that voice in my heart called a conscience.

  • The Oracle Jun 1, 2009

    colliedave: "In a digital age, is there a need for a library when most information can be found on-line?"

    Yea, let's just burn all them books!

  • colliedave Jun 1, 2009

    Crimes are committed out of desperation and ignorance

    No, crimes are committed by evil, selfish people. Look at the pols we sent to the pokey, they were highly educated.

    In a digital age, is there a need for a library when most information can be found on-line? And given the fairly low costs, most people can afford a PC and an on-line port.

  • Nobody but Carolina Jun 1, 2009

    Well, at one point the library in Wendell was on the :to close list." Fortunately the Town government and some others were persuasive enough to get it off that list. I just wish all could have survived.