Small Libraries Struggling In East Texas - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

04/21/04 - Tyler

Small Libraries Struggling In East Texas

Small town libraries are in trouble in East Texas, some receiving only pennies in city taxes, struggling to keep their doors open on a shoestring budget.

"We're a small percentage of this cities budget, as are a lot of smaller libraries.We're less than three percent of the budget," says Hawkins librarian Pam McKenzie.

McKenzie has been the only employee of the Hawkins Public Library since it opened in 1988, and it's stayed afloat by getting limited funding from state, county and city sources and donations, and its been just enough. But a cut in any funding would mean closing.

"That is a worry, a concern right now.  We've had people that don't know why we have a library in this community. A lot of people would rather go download an e-book. It doesn't take the place of feeling those new pages, the smell of a new book," says McKenzie.

"You can see the delight in a child's eyes when they come running in and say miss Pam, 'I can read a book I can read a bookl," says McKenzie. With Texas legislature in special session, McKenzie hopes libraries will be on the list for more funding and that people will help save small libraries.

The public is encouraged to help by contacting their local library, city government, or you can go back to our home page and click on the Know More on 7 Icon.  Just look for the American Libraries  Association Link.

Bob Hallmark, reporting.

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