Carteret County Board of Commissioners
United States of America

The Down East Library is an all-volunteer effort established in February of 2005. As of this time we have grown into (or out of) 2 small buildings had have over 1300 library card holders. Since inception we have received an annual $15,000 grant from Carteret County. We cannot sustain our quality of service without this help.

This year the proposed Carteret budget excludes our grant. The Commissioners will be reviewing the proposed budget on June 1 at which time we wish to appear en masse and submit this petition for consideration.

We, the undersigned, believe that the recession is the wrong time to cut the cornerstone of local communities and neighborhoods. The county library survey commissioned by Carteret County, with results published in July 2008, strongly recommended that a permanent library facility and resource center be established to serve the Down East communities.

While economic conditions indicate this is not the right time to take the Down East Library into the Tri-County Library System, the library survey recommendations should not be forgotten for future budget planning purposes.

County funding supports our basic operating expenses (rent, utilities, repairs, etc.) and is critical to our continued survival. We have no municipal base for other funding, and depend heavily on donations made by our regular patrons to supplement the amount funded by Carteret County to keep our library open. The Down East Library in Smyrna provides services not otherwise readily available to this segment of Carteret County. It provides a foundation for community organizing-–a way to connect with neighbors, form groups and discuss issues facing their community so that they can effect positive and long-lasting change.

These communities east of the North River Bridge represent over 50% of the county land mass, and nearly 15% of the county population for the study period. Down East Library's patrons now number over 1,300, and our statistics show growing demand for our services.

Our dedicated staff of volunteers continues to be ready, willing and able to provide the services now enjoyed by Down East citizens. Services which include not only lending books, movies and books-on-tape free of charge to our patrons, but also free Internet service and numerous free child and adult programs. Other programs are provided in cooperation with Carteret Community College and local business supporters.

In closing, the Down East communities deserve this minimal support for the Down East Library in Smyrna. We urge Carteret County Commissioners to reconsider the proposed budget and return this line item to the budget adopted for 2009-2010, maintaining $15,000 annual funding to the Down East Library, and, in doing so, show that literacy, employment, and community activism in the Down East community remain priorities of Carteret County.

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The Save Our Down East Library petition to Carteret County Board of Commissioners was written by Tia Douglass and is in the category Education at GoPetition.