Library system ends year of challenges, hopes to bounce back in new year

The fourteen branch system is dealing with a loss of $120,000 in state funding

Library system ends year of challenges, hopes to bounce back in new year

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - The year ends with the Jackson Hinds Library System struggling financially to meet the needs of patrons and employees.

State and recent City of Jackson cuts continue to be a problem for the state’s largest library system.

Emmanuel McDougal goes to the Medgar Evers Library daily for school work and to mentor youth. Source: WLBT
Emmanuel McDougal goes to the Medgar Evers Library daily for school work and to mentor youth. Source: WLBT

“Everyday I come to the library. I mostly volunteer,” said Emmanuel McDougal. The Hinds Community College student uses the Medgar Evers Library in his study of videography.

The 21-year-old hopes for more funding for the library system to help continue his mentoring program.

“We do have a program called Sparkamatic. Sparkamatic is for these kids who want to learn about digital media, learn about technology,” said McDougal. “Not just technology, but we do other things outside the library that pertains to Medgar Evers.”

The fourteen branch system is dealing with a loss of $120,000 in state funding.

Officials say they have also been cut $50,000 by the City of Jackson.

Patty Furr is Executive Director of the Jackson Hinds Library System. Source: WLBT
Patty Furr is Executive Director of the Jackson Hinds Library System. Source: WLBT

“We have a maintenance of effort clause for our life and health insurance and if that funding is cut more than two percent from the previous year then we lose our health and life insurance coverage. So we really need to have that $50,000 back from the city,” said Furr.

Hinds County Supervisors allocated $373,000 to the system which will be used for emergencies. Supervisors will also give the system over $30,000 in millage, a major increase according to Furr.

Anne Sanders became Medgar Evers' branch manager when the Charles Tisdale Library closed due to flooding. She’s seen an increase in patrons and the need for more books, but also found something disturbing and familiar at the aging building.

“When it rains in here, there are just so many issues with this building and we definitely need help with that,” said Sanders.

The branch manager wants the library to thrive so it can continue offering children, and adults in the area access to computers and history.

Willie Coleman works on a project at the Medgar Evers Library. Source: WLBT
Willie Coleman works on a project at the Medgar Evers Library. Source: WLBT

“I want them to mainly know who Medgar Evers was, and what he fought for and what he stood for,” added Sanders. “I believe he would be so proud of what we’re doing, but it could just be so much better.”

The Library Commission will request that lawmakers restore twenty-percent of the funding cut by the state in the upcoming legislative session.

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