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More funding sought for library in Bailey

Spring Hope Enterprise of Spring Hope, North Carolina

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Phillip Whitford of Braswell Memorial Library, which operates the Wesley Privette Memorial Library in Bailey, on Monday gave the Bailey town commissioners an update on the library and discussed the need for future funding with them.

Whitford praised the librarian, Sherry Beard, saying "she is doing a wonderful job. She is very personable, patrons love her, and she has been working very hard to improve the collection and promote the library."

Whitford said the library would soon start checking out telescopes and binoculars, made possible by a federal grant. He also said the library plans to add an additional public computer to the three already in use.

Whitford then spent time answering commissioners' questions about the budgets of Braswell Library and Bailey's library.

"There apparently was some confusion about the amount of money we get from the state through the county," he said. "Back in August I sent you a document that explains how our budget works. If you have questions I will try to answer. We are an intergovernmental agency so our books are all public."

Commissioner Phillip "Rocky" Winstead asked, "How much total money do you get the whole year?"

Whitford replied that the library has in the budget for this fiscal year $2,081,000 from a variety of sources and plans to spend $2,178,905. The difference is made up from the library's fund balance.

"We are burning through our fund balance at an alarming rate," he noted.

Whitford noted that Braswell gets $122,000 a year from the state, most of which is spent on books for all libraries in the county. Salaries and other expenses are paid with funds from local governments.

Winstead asked, "If we give you something this year are you going to be asking for more for next year?"

Whitford answered, "Yes, sir."

Whitford said the library is not asking for anything for this fiscal year but will need money to make its budget in the next fiscal year and beyond.

Winstead said he would like to fund the library but there is a limit to what the town can give.

Whitford said he understands that the town has many departments to fund and does not believe the library should come before the police. "We do think the library is important and we think your citizens have shown that they think it is important," he said.

Mayor Timothy Johnson asked, "When you say 'our citizens' do you specifically know that they are town residents or county residents?"

Whitford said that the people who use the Bailey library are predominantly Bailey residents or live in the immediate vicinity. He added than when someone gets a library card the library gets their address and can create reports on that.

Johnson said he would like to see copies of the report and Whitford agreed.

Rocky Winstead said he wants the town to do what it can to support the library.

"I was really impressed with the lady you have down there. I don't want to see it close," he said. He suggested that the library have a fund drive every year.

Commissioner Troy Conner asked if the library does any mailings to solicit donations.

Whitford said the library has not done those things so far, but "you will be hearing more about us."

Rocky asked, "If we give $5,000 will that keep it open next year?"

Whitford said simply, "Yes."

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Original Publication Date: October 22, 2015

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