Cuts to Miss. Library Commission could mean less staff, services at local libraries

Published: Jun. 1, 2016 at 10:52 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 1, 2016 at 10:55 PM CDT
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HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Some public libraries across the state are preparing to reduce staff or postpone new purchases, because of state budget cuts that go into effect next month.

Those cuts affect the Mississippi Library Commission, which oversees and supports libraries.

The commission will receive about 10 percent less than it did last year, which will mean big cuts in the organization's Personnel Incentive Grant Program.

That'll mean less money for employees and books.

"For us, that cut will be about $15,000," said Pamela Pridgen, director of the Hattiesburg and Petal libraries and one of the five library commissioners. "And what that will mean is that we will have less staff to help after-school children with their homework, their projects, to help people in our computer labs who are looking for jobs or filling our information forms."

"Our portion is going to be roughly $7,000," said James Pinkard, director of the Covington County Library System. "We're looking at ways now to try and mitigate that. Probably we're looking at either cutting staff hours or acquisitions."

Pinkard says an increase in county funding and private donations would help offset some of the cuts.

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