Since 2013, usage at the Long County Library has increased by nearly 27 percent, according to library board secretary and treasurer Brent Klinedinst.
He said that in 2013, there were 19,185 visits; in 2014 that number increased to 22,500. According to projections, this year, there will be 24,244. Klinedinst said that according to the latest state census figures, Long County’s population is 17,113 and that, currently, there are 5,505 registered card holders at the library.
Klinedinst said that though many people still have the idea that the library is just a place to check out books, this is a big misconception. He said that the library offers computer and Internet service, videos, compact discs, audio books and magazines. In addition to these items, he said, the library offers special programs for the community. Currently, the summer reading program is being offered, and some of its events include a Curious Moon puppet show, an Okefenokee wildlife demonstration, police K-9 demonstration and a Georgia Southern University reptile show.
But Klinedinst said that even though the library is offering all of this and usage has increased, it is operating on a strained budget.
“We have done all that we could to keep the operational costs as low as we can, but even so, this year we are going to come up about $45,000 short in our budget,” he said.
Klinedinst said all of the library’s funding comes from the Long County Board of Commissioners, the city of Ludowici and the Long County Board of Education. He said that if the library is not able to find the shortfall in the budget, it will have to make cuts to what it offers to the citizens.
“I know it is tough financial times, but we do offer a lot for our citizens, and people of all ages use our library,” Klinedinst said. “
For more information, call 545-2522.