Local News

Demonstration held to keep Garner library open

Posted February 3, 2010 11:24 p.m. EST
Updated February 6, 2010 4:01 p.m. EST

— 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.

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.