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Ads in Gwinnett Libraries Are a Possibility

GCPL's new plans call for 'non-tax' revenue of millions of dollars annually.

Don't be surprised if you soon see one of those illiterate, chicken-loving cows in your local .

Advertising in libraries and business marketing initiatives are part of the GCPL's effort to make up funding cuts by reaching out to the private sector.

Philip Saxton, chairman of the Gwinnett library system, said Monday he hopes the library can raise at least $4 million annually through private initiatives as it seeks to become less dependent on tax revenue.

"We're not the same library we were a year ago," he told Gwinnett Commission Chairman Charlotte Nash and other county government leaders during the final day of budget review sessions.

The Gwinnett government is preparing its fiscal year 2012 budget and is facing a $30 million revenue shortfall. Now that the various county departments have made their proposals and "decision packages (which sometimes involve hiring new personnel)," the county leaders will begin deciding how to divide the pie.

The proposed budget will be presented to all commissioners and available for public viewing on November 15th. A public hearing will be held in December, and the final vote likely will be in January.

Saxton and other library leaders were "shocked" when their budget, now at $16.1 million, was reduced by 15 percent. Feeling it won't get any better soon, the library is undertaking plans to raise money itself.

Among the plans:

-- Advertising. Officials hope to generate $1 million yearly this way. For instance, Saxton said one effort might involve having a fast-food restaurant donate 10 percent of proceeds from a given day to the library.

Also, ads might appear on bookmarkers and bookshelves in the library. And he noted that the library also has raised $1,500 through affiliate links programs with Amazon.com and other businesses.

Saxton noted that 900 people daily visit each of the 15 GCPL branches. 

-- Endowments. The "long-term pillar" of the plan could raise $25 million over the next 15 years. Donations of cash, property and life insurance will be sought.

-- Donations. People will be urged to donate $1 weekly for as long as possible. 

"The library budget is a needed safety net for hundreds of thousands of our citizens," Saxton said.

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The county's budget review sessions were videotaped and can be seen on TVGwinnett and the county website: www.gwinnettcounty.com.

Raven Nichols September 13, 2011 at 02:30 PM
It breaks my heart that it even has to be a consideration. Public libraries are the only access to books some children get. Literacy and education should be more of a priority in our country.
Rebecca Stafford September 13, 2011 at 08:30 PM
If it helps save money and keep the doors open, why not?!!! I like the thinking out of the box ideas!
Maggie Lee September 17, 2011 at 01:10 AM
Put a coffee shop in the library, make it like Borders / B&N. Those places draw in tons of people. Let's get people in the building with the books & computers their taxes already bought.

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