ALBANY, Ga. -- The Dougherty County Library Board has narrowed a list of 22 applicants for its system director position to six candidates, who will be interviewed by board members soon.
"We've narrowed the list to six people, but we haven't notified them yet so we don't want to announce the names at this time," Library Board Chairman Walter Kelley said after the board went into executive session at its Tuesday meeting to discuss the candidates. "From everything we've heard about the candidates, there are some strong ones on our list.
"From what we've been told, several of the candidates are the kind who could step in and do the job now."
Mike Dugan, who came out of retirement to serve as interim director of the county's library system during the search process, received permission from the board Tuesday to limit the number of videogames and DVDs a single patron may check out at any one time to 15. Dugan said many patrons now check out as many as 50 games or DVDs at a time.
"We currently don't have any limits, and there are single patrons who check out as many as 50 DVDs or games at a time," Dugan said. "I ask you to limit that number to 12, so that other people can enjoy the other 38. I just think it's one way we can spread our thin resources to best serve the community."
Board member Brenda Hodges-Tiller suggested, and the board approved, that the number be cut off at 15.
"I think about parents going on trips with young kids, and some of those DVDs don't last but about 15 minutes," Hodges-Tiller said. "Twelve wouldn't last very long."
Dugan also told the board he'd like for the system to "get out of the textbook business," noting that college students often check out books needed for their classes and never return them.
"We don't carry those textbooks, so we have to do an interlibrary loan," Dugan said. "The limit to check out the books is three to four weeks, but a lot of people don't return them and we end up having to pay $100-$150. There's a payment due on the person's library card, but that really doesn't do us any good."
The board voted to revisit the issue at its next meeting after Dugan has looked into the possibility of demanding a deposit on textbooks before checkout.
Board member John Hayes, who serves on the Dougherty County Commission, asked Dugan and Kelley to prepare a line-item budget so that the board can take a close look at each item before presenting its budget request to the commission.
"I'm in a precarious position; I have to answer to constituents who want to know why we can't possibly open one of the closed branches," Hayes said. "I'm not in a position where I can answer their questions until I've dissected the budget and determined there are no savings, no opportunities to add revenue, nothing else we can do."
The board decided to hold a called meeting to discuss its budget on April 30.
Also at Tuesday's meeting, Kelley said the demolition phase of the downtown Central Library branch is progressing quickly and efficiently.
"They're doing a great job," the board chairman said. "Things are going well and they're going fast. It was well worth the extra time we took to get that project right."