Libraries feel pinch of budget cuts

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 29, 2003

The state’s budget cuts are dipping into the county’s pockets again; this time it strikes the county schools’ libraries.

All state library enhancement funds were cut from the state’s budget for this year, meaning school libraries will receive no money to purchase periodical subscriptions, purchase new books or replace lost or damaged books.

The county will lose approximately $30,250 in library enhancement funds this year, said Sherry Bennett, business and financial affairs director at the Butler County superintendent’s office.

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&uot;That’s the amount we received last year, and we should have received at least that much this year,&uot; Bennett said. &uot;That’s $135 per earned unit; earned units are based on the number of certified teachers at each school.&uot;

&uot;This is serious,&uot; Greenville High School librarian Jennifer Shell said. &uot;The GHS library is losing ground in its battle to keep our standards up. With the way science and technology are rapidly changing, if we don’t buy updated materials yearly, our students will be using outdated material for their projects and reports. We will be severely handicapped in our ability to provide adequate supplemental educational materials for our teachers to use in their class instruction.&uot;

Shell said GHS usually receives from $7,000 to $8,000 per year, but didn’t receive the full allotment last year and received none the year before.

McKenzie School librarian Laura Shell said her school wouldn’t be able to purchase new books and the Accelerated Reader computer disks that go with them.

The Accelerated Reader program is a computer-based learning tool that helps children better comprehend material they’ve read by &uot;testing&uot; them on a book once they have completed it.

&uot;I use book fair money to purchase our periodical and newspaper subscriptions,&uot; Laura said. &uot;But the new books and AR program disks are expensive, so we won’t be getting any of those this year.&uot;

Claudia Lewis, the Greenville Middle School librarian, said her school is already dealing with out-of-date books that need replacement.

&uot;Our allotment was $5,974, so these cuts will put us even further behind on trying to bring our library up to where it should be,&uot; Lewis said. &uot;We won’t be able to buy magazines or books. Some of our books are in bad shape; they are old and falling apart. We won’t be able to replace those. We won’t be able to weed out books to keep our standards up.&uot;

Lewis said the cuts would keep her from buying new computers, software, videotapes or equipment.

&uot;We won’t be able to buy anything except what I can afford with the money we make from book fairs,&uot; she said. &uot;The long-term effect will be on our books. Many of them are already outdated.&uot;