FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — Five years ago, Cumberland County libraries' budget was slashed because of a downturn in the economy. Since that time, nearly 400,000 fewer books have been checked out. However, the county is looking at ways to keep the pages turning.
Officials said the Cumberland County library system's book budget has been cut by more than 30 percent.
"We may not have the books people are interested in or there's too long a wait on the popular titles because we are only able to buy a few copies," said Jerry Thrasher, of the Cumberland County Library System.
In the last few years, the county has restored some funding. However, the system is still operating with about $900,000 less a year, which means libraries across Cumberland are not open as much as they used to be. That news is disappointing to patrons such as Rebecca Sanders.
"I work during the day, go to school at night. It makes it hard to find time to come to the library when they are operating less," she said.
With a $59,000 federal grant, the library system is trying to raise awareness on what is offered in Cumberland County. The system will target public officials with the hopes officials will target libraries with more funding.
Thrasher believes troop deployments have contributed to the drop in checkouts at local libraries in Cumberland County. However, one area of the library that has seen an increase is the use of public computers.