Local Politics

Harnett libraries to close for budget cuts

Posted June 29, 2011 3:52 p.m. EDT
Updated June 29, 2011 6:12 p.m. EDT

— Budget cuts in Harnett County will close two of the county's three libraries in a little more than two weeks.

County commissioners decided to reduce spending after contentious public meetings about possibly raising taxes or furloughing employees. Among the cuts they approved Monday was $80,000 from the county's library program.

Libraries in Coats and in Anderson Creek will close on July 15. Five part-time employees will lose their jobs.

Leanne Westbrook said she takes her children to the Coats library every week.

"They just love the reading program. We are so close to all the librarians," Westbrook said.

The main library in the county seat of Lillington isn't immune to the budget cuts. This summer, it will be open five days a week, down from six.

Library patron Dominique Gerald worried about what teenagers will do on long, hot summer days away from school.

"(There's) not a lot of resources here for us to stay busy. We don't have a recreation center, so this is where they come," Gerald said. "You want to keep us out of trouble, but you're going to shut the library down. I don't think that's right."

County commissioners said that tough fiscal times mean tough choices.

Westbrook said she understands money is tight, but she wishes the county would leave the libraries alone.

"It's a second home. Where do you go when there's no home?" she said.