State Funds Withheld from Missouri Libraries

Published 08/11 2014 09:47AM

Updated 08/11 2014 09:49AM

JOPLIN, Mo. --  Libraries around Missouri are learning they will have far less money from the state in the next budget year.

"Usually once a week I come and check out CDs and a couple of books,"  says library visitor Jerika Lee.

Lee was shocked when she learned the state is withholding library funding from the 2015 state budget.

"This is huge and it will hurt," says Joplin Public Library Director Jacque Gage.

It's a 6.6 million dollar cut,  affecting libraries across the Show Me State.

"We currently get 50 cents per capita for everyone in our library district to assist with library services," says Gage.

In Joplin, this means a loss of about $33,000 come November.

"Needless to say although we have a balanced budget it did not include a surplus of that kind of money," says Gage.

State funds are used to pay library services and the REAL program.

"REALstand for remote electronic access for libraries. and this is the fund that allows us to contract with Morenet for our technology services," says Gage.

Morenet provides multiple databases, security, filtering and, of course, internet.

"A lot of employers only have online job applications. So where does someone go do that if they don't have access at home?" says Gage.

It's unclear how the library will make up for the loss.

"Budget shortfalls are always difficult to deal with and it comes down basically to collection and programs, will be probably what takes the hit," says Gage.

Something that doesn't sit well with library visitors.

"Lots of people come here and depend on the library," says Lee.

Joplin Library Director Jacque Gage says county libraries will be the hardest hit. Those are the ones that depend on the state funds to keep their doors open. She encourages everyone to contact the governor's office to get the funds restored.

(KODE, Joplin)

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