New policies in effect at Pearl River County Libraries

Published 2:20 pm Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Pearl River County Library System’s mission is to provide service, technology, reading and reference materials; respect the freedoms and rights of each individual; carefully plan for the future; listen to patron needs and concerns; and support the people and communities of Pearl River County. Through programs and services, the two libraries in the system, Crosby Memorial Library as Headquarters in Picayune and the Poplarville Public Library have consistently measured up to this mission. In most cases the services offered have been at no or very low cost to the public. The library system gets its funding from a variety of places. It receives a small amount from the federal government. The funds received from the state is a little more, but that, too, is being reduced. Most of the library system’s funding comes from local governments, the cities of Poplarville and Picayune and Pearl River County. The cities have been able to maintain their funding commitments. But, the recent budget cuts from the county have forced the library system to reduce its operating hours and increase some of the fees charged for certain programs and services. Pearl River County Board of Supervisors reduced the 2012 budget by $50,000.00 nine months into the budget year; $25,000 of that was returned, but the supervisors are cutting the library system an additional $19,200 for the 2013 budget year.

The reduction of hours was due to the severe cuts and the cash flow problem they have created. The staff was encouraged to use vacation time due to them during these closed hours, and to make appointments with doctors at this time. The professional staff has been furloughed four hours per week or 16 hours per month. The library system has lost 5 employees through attrition that have not been replaced. The library system no longer has the staff to maintain the open hours it did just a year and a half ago.

In order to increase cash flow to continue services and be more in keeping with libraries around the state, the Board of Trustees of the Pearl River County Library System decided to increase fees for certain items as follows:

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Books 20 cents per day;  audio books & MS Collection 50 cents per day; DVD & Interlibrary Loan $1 per day; other overdues will stay the same. All overdue fines will be capped at the cost of the item.

Photocopies and computer printouts : 20¢ for black and white of all sizes and $1.25 for color copies of all sizes.

Fees charged to use the meeting room:

Daytime (2 hours): $25

Evening or when library is closed: $35

 Whole day: $50

 Whole day & evening: $75 to $100 – at the discretion of the library director.

$100 deposit for any large meeting or reception where there is food served or at the discretion of the director.

Many of the fees are remaining the same such as:

First card – free. Simply bring a picture ID and proof of physical address to get a card. A replacement card is remaining the same at $2.50 for the first replacement and $5 for each replacement after that.

Interlibrary Loan – free. The cost of postage is being paid by a grant provided by the MS Library Commission.

The new fines and fees are in effect as of Monday, October 1st.

To meet the reduced library operating budget, the book budget has been reduced to nothing. To help acquire new books, the library system is instituting a “Sponsor a Book” program.

As of Monday, October 1st, each library will have placed a ‘wish list’ of books that would normally be bought for the collection. A person may choose a book from the list to sponsor and donate the cost of the book to the library. In this way, the library will be able to purchase the book in a binding that is special for libraries and many times at a lower cost than can be purchased at a retail store. A book plate will be placed on the inside front cover stating by whom the book is sponsored.

Each library has a donation jar at the circulation desks. The money collected in these jars will be used exclusively for the purchase of books for the respective library.

Along with the new fees, the library has had to reduce hours that it is open to the public. As soon as more operating capital is available in the new 2013 budget year, which will begin on October 1st, the trustees hope to reinstate some of the “open” hours that have been lost, perhaps in November 2012.