Cobb proposes closing or consolidating 8 libraries

Feb 05, 2018

Up to eight Cobb libraries could be closed or consolidated under a proposal to save about $2.6 million for the county.

Cobb is facing a $30 to $55 million shortfall in its 2019 budget, despite a record high tax digest.

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Libraries Director Helen Poyer was directed to find $2.9 million in savings following the County Commission’s October budget retreat.

“Any closing of libraries ... has an impact on the community,” Poyer wrote in a draft document obtained under the Open Records Act. “Consequently, the closing of any valuable and essential service such as libraries when needed by the young, older adult, disabled, or disadvantaged has a negative impact on the quality of life throughout the County.”

According to that draft document, the following libraries have been identified for closing or consolidation:

The document also proposes eliminating all part-time positions, a total of 124 employees, which would affect library hours.

Any closure or consolidation would be approved as part of the 2019 budget in July.

Commission Chairman Mike Boyce said he expected a “spirited” discussion in the coming weeks, acknowledging that libraries, like senior centers, are a “third rail” in local politics.

“We’re not turning this into a crisis,” he said. “We’re going to be talking about it for the next five months.”

Cobb recently celebrated the opening of the new, $10 million Sewell Mill Library and Cultural Center, which replaced the East Marietta Library, despite a lack of a sustainable operating budget.

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