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Demonstration held to keep Garner library open

Posted February 3, 2010
Updated February 6, 2010

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— Wake County needs to cut about $18 million from its budget. One proposal to help save money is to close the Southeast Regional Library, at 908 7th Ave. in Garner. However, a citizens group is fighting to keep the library open.

Garner residents want to keep library open Garner residents want to keep library open

The "Save Garner's Library" Facebook group has more than 2,000 members. About 50 of them demonstrated outside the library Wednesday afternoon to rally support.

“It (library) is a very valuable resource. We shouldn't lose it,” protester Sherry Storrs-Cassnova said.

“I think it's horrible and all these kids here are showing them that we need our library,” protester Dotty Barco said.

For some people taking part in the demonstration, the library provides affordable access to books and computers.

“I’m on a fixed income and we all need our library,” protester Helen Reaves said.

For others, Southeast Regional is the closest library to their homes.

“We come here every Monday. My daughter, Elon, volunteers here. We come all the way from Clayton and this is the closest library that we have,” protester Casie Price said.

Wake County is asking nearly all departments to cut about seven percent from their budget. By closing the Garner library, the county could save over a million dollars.

“We're facing an unprecedented situation. This is the second year in a row, Wake County revenue has been lower than the previous year,” Wake County Board of Commission Chairman Tony Gurley said.

Garner Mayor Ronnie Williams, who wants to keep the library open, says the county needs to find other ways to save money.

“There’s no reason behind why they want to close this library,” Williams said.

Williams said the Garner library has about 700,000 visitors a year. It's also among the top five most visited public libraries in the state, according to Williams.

A community meeting about the potential closing of the Garner library is planned for Thursday at 7 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church, at 503 Lakeside Drive in Garner.

The Wake County Board of Commissioners will start budget deliberations next month. A decision about the fate of the Garner library should be made by June.

Gurley said the grassroots effort to save two other Wake County libraries from closing last year was successful.

10 Comments

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  • sunneyone Feb 8, 2010

    If they're going to close a branch, it needs to be one of the middle/north Raleigh ones that is only a FEW MILES from another Raleigh branch.

  • mountainmama Feb 8, 2010

    Johnson County residents do have to pay a yearly membership fee, so they actually provide revenue in a way ( fines, membership etc)

    Southgate is a community branch, not the same hours or amenities as a regional and again, many people walk to this location...

  • sunneyone Feb 4, 2010

    NCWebGuy, I live in Garner, in Wake Co and it is my understanding that folks in Johnston Co have to pay a yearly fee to use the Wake Co library. It isn't free for them. But, part of the town of Garner IS in Johnston Co, so it is their closest library.

    And there are a lot of neighborhood kids who use this library that don't have a way to drive to another branch. Why would you close this library if you have other branches so close together in the same town. It's not right.

  • ncwebguy Feb 4, 2010

    Of course no one wants to ask the real question -- why Wake County tax dollars supporting a library used by Johnston County residents?

    Johnston County's "lower taxes are due to them not having "socialist/communist" libraries, dumping the tax burden on Wake residents. What would the attendance numbers be if they only looked at Wake County residents?

    It is repulsive that Garner's mayor is ok with "outsiders" coming to the the library, but not schools. Taking county money and then selectively sharing the resources bought with it is terrible, but typical for Garner.

    Southgate is as closer (closer?) than other "close" libraries in North Raleigh. But isn't in the "right" neighborhood.

  • Garnerwolf1 Feb 4, 2010

    I've used the Garner library for almost 40 years. Hope the Wake Co braintrust comes up with another plan. Of course, they'd probably rather cater to the rich folks in N Raleigh than us poor floks down south!

  • GetRight Feb 4, 2010

    "Williams said the Garner library has about 700,000 visitors a year. It's also among the top five most visited public libraries in the state, according to Williams."

    That fact alone should remove it from the list of potential budget cuts. My family alone probably checks out in the neighborhood of a 1000+ books per year. We never have less than 40 in the house ant any given time. My 4 kids are always reading and the library is a phenomenal educational resource for them.

    If there are several hundred public libraries in the state, and this one is top 5 most used, then why would you cut it? I guarantee you I could find a million dollars in "fat" that I could trim from the Wake Cty budget in no time.

  • Lily Feb 4, 2010

    I visit this library quite often. Yesterday at lunch, there were so many people there - you couldn't find a parking place. People were constantly circling waiting for people to leave. It is all ages there, young, teenage, middle-age, older...it's mind boggling to think this is where they want to cut budget dollars. Wake up - Wake county - this is not where you want to cut budgets! All ages in one location for one purpose...to learn/education.

  • HanginTough Feb 4, 2010

    i say start at the top and look at some county salaries. not admin type people but higher ups...our library is a great resource.

  • mrsmom Feb 4, 2010

    "the Garner library has about 700,000 visitors ...among the top five most visited"

    I have no dog in this fight, but it doesn't make sense to close a library that is being used regularly. I am sure there are libraries with less use that could be sacrificed.

  • aharris2 Feb 4, 2010

    I don't get why they are looking to close the Garner Library, which is the only one in the area - when they just opened a new library off Leesville, and remodeled one off Duraleigh. Those two libraries are within 5-10 miles of each other - and not too far from the big library off Falls of the Neuse. I use the Leesville and Duraleigh branch - but would travel to the Falls location if it meant Garner could keep their one library. WHY did they build a new library/park off Leesville with budget concerns the way they are? Makes no sense!