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Library Patrons Can Now Renew Books, DVDs Online

Library trustees changed the DVD lending policy to five DVDs for five days, were advised patrons can now renew DVDs and books online by going to the library’s Web site — after receiving a password by calling or visiting the library, learned wireless Internet service is 24-hours/7days a week, and discussed the impact of a coming 5 percent state funding cut in addition to the previous 5 percent cut at their Tuesday board meeting. “There’s an additional 5 percent (state) cut in next year, 2010-11, in addition to the 5 percent cut we had this year,” explained Library Director Rhonda Griffin.

This permanent 10 percent cut in state aid comes to $13,395.20 for the Halifax County-South Boston Regional Library System.

Noting some library systems already are making difficult cuts, Griffin said the financial impact here will not be known until the localities have completed their budget process and determined the amount available to the library system.

However, Griffin said with an almost $2,000 increase in fines and fees collected - quarter 08/09 was  $4,212.87 compared to 09/10 with $6,131.94 - and with maintained level funding from the localities, the impact of state reductions would be lessened.

The library is funded 30 percent by state aid; 51 percent by Halifax County; 14 percent by South Boston; 5 percent through miscellaneous fees and fines. The library director noted state funds are designated for certain expenses, such as computer services, library equipment, furniture, books, etc.

Griffin said the 2009-2010 total budget was $463,809.17.

Trustees probably will not know what funding the library will receive until their April meeting, according to the library director.

“We have less money and more patrons, a total 6 percent increase,” the director informed trustees. The last quarterly tally documented the Halifax Library circulation at 9,429 and the South Boston Library at 11,500. The Bookmobile circulation totaled 671 for the last quarter.

A new time management system for computers has resulted in an increase in registered library patrons with 142 registering for library cards from Oct. 1 through Dec. 31, compared with two new library cards in the same period in 2008, added the director.

Also, two older library system computers are being replaced. A Chastain Home grant will provide the matching funds required, according to the library director.

“At both libraries people sit in the parking lot (using the wireless service),” Griffin added.

Trustees will next meet at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 27, at the Halifax Library.