The county’s Budget and Finance Committee rejected a $3,500 Magness Library request to join the advantage program for READS to acquire e-books.
Herschel Wells, committee chairman, picked up the budget and said, “This requires maintenance of effort. I motion we approve $116,000.” Commissioners voted with him, 5-0, to approve the $116,00 and to deny the $3,500 requested.
Maintenance of effort prevents local governments from reducing funding for certain programs – such as education – from one year to the next. If the committee had agreed to fund the $3,500 for e-books for the 2012-2013 year, that amount would have to be funded in following years.
Magness Library has not received an increase from the county in several years. Operational costs have increased while funding has stayed the same. The staff has also not received a salary increase in years.
During 2010-11, the library had a circulation of 57,617 materials. There were 52,248 visitors to the library and 19,359 public computer users on the 32 public computers that are provided free of charge.
The library provides a weekly story time on Thursdays at 10 a.m. and the Summer Reading Program is offered for children. Computer classes are also offered to the public. All of these services are provided free to the public.
Magness Library does have access to e-books through a state-sponsored program. But, patrons must wait on a list behind other people in Tennessee before receiving the e-book of their choice. With the advantage program, patrons would only be competing for books with other people within Warren County. This would have meant patrons could read a best seller while it is still a best seller, not a classic.
Members of the Budget and Finance Committee are Commissioners Wells, Terry Bell, Carl Bouldin, Ken Martin and Michael Martin.