As of Sunday, August 5, 2012
© Copyright 2013
I am an avid reader and an educator, so I was saddened to read about the closings of the Southside and Westtown libraries. However, I understand that the Dougherty County Public Library System is struggling with budget issues, just like the Dougherty County Police Department and the Dougherty County School System, as well as many other state and local governments across the country. I have observed our library system cut hours and lay employees off. Many remaining employees have to work six days every other week, all in an effort to serve this community.
Perhaps the announcement of the closings could have been handled better, but the Library Board had compelling data as to why those two branches were closed. They were underutilized. I have visited both branches on several occassions, and I was shocked to see how empty they were as compared to Central, Tallulah Massey and Northwest.
As for the insinuation that branches were closed that served minority groups or "the people who needed access to educational materials the most," Albany is 71 percent black. There isn't a library in this city that doesn't serve blacks, if that is indeed the implication. If anyone would bother to check the location or visit the remaining libraries, that assertion would quickly be disproved.