West Texas Library Funds on the Chopping Block

Nick Lawton
NewsWest 9

MONAHANS - The Texas State Library and Archives Commission, if the proposed state budget cuts pass, will lose nearly $28 million in funding next year.

That will send shockwaves all across libraries here in the Basin, cutting direct aid from the state.

"The main problem is that we can't really exist without a whole lot of help," Ward County Library Director, Bonnie Moore, said.

That prompted Howard County Library Director Hollis McCright to make a proclamation before the Howard County Commissioners on Monday, which was signed by County Judge Mark Barr, making a public statement to West Texans to write and E-mail their legislators to put a stop to it.

That message reached Bonnie Moore in Monahans and the Ward County Commissioners passed a resolution there too.

NewsWest 9 was told Ward County Judge Greg Holly is currently in Austin and will debate the cuts with legislators.

The proposed state budget cuts would eliminate crucial funding for libraries all across West Texas, which is how they keep their shelves stocked with new books.

"We'll probably have to decrease what we buy," Moore said. "That's the reason that many patrons come here because they can't afford to do it themselves and they depend on us to have these things available for them."

Funding for the research database TexShare will dry up too and libraries will have to pay that pretty penny to use it or drop it.

"At my library in Howard County, I pay about $450 per year for databases that would cost over $100,000 to purchase on the open market," Howard County Library Director Hollis McCright, said. "What we have worked for in the last 40-50 years in beefing up the role of the state library is down the drain. That's just where it's gone."

West Texas libraries are now looking to the people to contact their legislators and try to stop these cuts before they begin.

Library directors across West Texas say writing and e-mailing Governor Rick Perry and your state representative are the best ways to make your voices heard if you object to these library cuts.

The Texas Library Association's website has instructions for how to support your local library. Click the link below to visit their website.