The Newton County Library System will lay off 12 employees beginning Jan. 1 because of declining revenues and increasing costs.
One manager, one information technology employee and 10 shelvers will be laid off, which will leave the system with 26 employees. Three of the positions cut are full time and the remaining nine are part time. The library system's Board of Directors voted Nov. 28 to reduce staff by 30 percent, but cuts were finalized this week.
The Covington Branch Library on Floyd Street will lose eight of its 27 employees and the Porter Memorial Branch on Ga. Highway 212 will lose four of its 11 employees.
In addition, another 16 employees will have their salaries reduced.
The cuts will save the system $200,000 for the remainder of the fiscal year 2012, which ends June 30. The savings will be $400,000 over a full year.
The library's budget will be reduced to $1.58 million. Library officials originally asked for a $2.35 million budget because the system had the added cost of operating the Porter Memorial Branch, on Ga. Highway 212 for a full fiscal year; however, both state and local funding fell this year.
“The cuts were painful for everyone but necessary to maintain library service to the residents of Newton County,” Library Director Lace Keaton said Thursday. “We are hopeful that when our budget recovers as the economy becomes more stable, we can restore some of these positions.”
Because of staff cuts, the Covington branch will be open four fewer hours per week, a total of 40, beginning Jan. 1. State standards require at least one library in each system to be open for 40 hours per week, Keaton said previously. The Porter branch is open 35 hours a week.
The library system does not have any money available this year to purchase new books or materials, and library board Chairwoman Lois Upham previously said the library was not even renewing subscriptions of existing materials.