Latrondria Riggins looks through the DVD collection at Dougherty County Public Library Southside Branch on Habersham Road Wednesday afternoon. Southside and Westtown branches are scheduled to close permanently June 30.
ALBANY, Ga. - A fiscal year budget shortfall of more than $121,000 has prompted the closure of two of the five Dougherty County public libraries.
The Library Board of Trustees have voted to close the Southside Library branch on Habersham as well as Westtown on Waddell Avenue immediately and lay off six employees until further notice.
The library board has hoped to close the branches but keep the employees, however the closing and the layoffs was determined to be the most "fiscal responsible" alternative.
The employees have been notified. Books and materials will be transferred to the remaining three open branches.
Effective July 1, hours for the branches to remain open are:
Northwest Branch and Tallulah Massey Branch Central Branch
Monday 10am – 8pm Monday 10am – 8pm
Tuesday – Thursday 10am – 6pm Tuesday – Thursday 10am – 6pm
Friday – Saturday 10am – 2pm Friday – Saturday 10am – 2pm
Sunday closed Sunday 2pm – 6pm
In addition to fewer locations, hours and staff, library patrons may notice other budget impacts, including more limited resources. Upcoming programming planned for the Southside Branch Library and Westtown Branch Library will be rescheduled to another branch.
Additionally, at its annual meeting, the PINES Executive Committee voted to increase the overdue fee for books from 10 cents per day to 20 cents per day, effective July 1, 2012. A statewide consortium of 285 public libraries and affiliated service outlets in 143 Georgia counties, the Public Information Network for Electronic Services – PINES, for short – offers citizens a shared catalog of approximately 10.4 million items, with a single library card that is welcomed in all member libraries.
The July fine increase will affect books in the collections of all PINES member libraries, including those of the Dougherty County Public Library. Similar fee increases for overdue magazines, audio books, compact discs and other items are currently under review by PINES subcommittees and could be implemented in the coming months. Despite the need for this change, the Library also wants to do its best to help borrowers return items on time. Individuals who have opted to receive email notices from the Library currently receive courtesy reminders several days before books and other items are due. Borrowers are also contacted by mail, phone, or email when items are past due and need to be returned. The first overdue notice is generated at 10 days past the due date of an item. The final notice is sent at 30 past the due date. Library cardholders can access information about their Library accounts anytime from the Library website, www.docolib.org, or by calling 420-3200 with their Library card number.
Information regarding other affected services will be announced and updated at www.docolib.org and other avenues as appropriate.