You can soon go to the library again.
Emergency funding of $238,000 from Macon-Bibb County will allow the libraries’ doors to reopen by the end of the month. And with a property tax increase also approved Thursday, there should be enough new revenue to keep the libraries from having to shut down again this fiscal year.
Three of the branches — Shurling, Charles A. Lanford and Riverside — have been closed since the beginning of July when the county’s library funding first came into question. Since then, the library system had been in turmoil while commissioners debated whether to increase taxes or make extreme cuts to agencies it helps fund.
Washington Memorial Library, which closed Thursday, will be the first to re-open on Monday. The plan is for the Shurling and Lanford branches to open Wednesday and for the Riverside location to open Aug. 27 , according to Middle Georgia Regional Library System Director Jennifer Lautzenheiser.
“The library system is hopeful that this (County Commission’s) support will continue on, and we will have the continuation of the library system throughout the year,” she said.
The uncertainty over the future of the Macon libraries prompted supporters to implore county leaders to provide funding for the service.
The library would be at risk of losing state funding if it doesn’t receive about $2.8 million in county funding. But commissioners have amended the budget to include the funding while also stating they will not let the libraries shut down for an extended period of time.
“I, too, am a supporter of the library funding,” County Commissioner Valerie Wynn said Thursday. “That was never a question for any of us as commissioners.”