Gwinnett County Commissioners Approve Library System Cuts

Gwinnett County Public library patrons may see fewer best-sellers on the shelves and reductions in circulation times after county commissioners unanimously voted for a one-million dollar cut to the county’s library system.

Commissioners voted for the cuts and recommended to the library system’s board that they come from the system’s materials budget. County officials say the budget trimming is necessary due to declines in property tax revenue, legislative changes and the creation of the new city of Peachtree Corners. But Commissioner Jace Brooks says making those cuts is difficult.

“Making cuts particularly to items like library and parks and recreation is not fun for anyone, but I do think it represents the reality that we face of balancing the expenditures between discretionary items and non-discretionary items.”

Liz Forster is Deputy Director of the Gwinnett County Public Library.

“Our items all circulate for three weeks now, so we’ll probably have to cut that shorter to spread the books around a little bit more. Probably we’ll have to eliminate certain collections, so we may not be able to have a copy of everything that’s popular in multiple formats.”

Forster says the cuts will return the materials budget back to 2001 levels. 

County Commission Chairman Charlotte Nash told the commission the 2013 budget process was the toughest she’s ever been through.

The cuts are part of  the more than $1.4 billion operating budget approved by the commission on Thursday. County officials say the amount is 7 percent lower than last year’s budget.