Nov 17 2008
11:03 pm

From the Knox County Library Web site comes this announcement:

"Knox County Public Library will reduce operating hours by 20% at all library locations starting Monday, December 8 in an effort to tighten spending. No staff will be laid off, and no branches will be closed."

That includes this observation:

"Traditionally, library use increases in an economic downturn."

OK, then.

Read the complete announcement here: (link...)

Larry Van Guilder

Rachel's picture

The Knox County Public

The Knox County Public Library does a fantastic job. There's not another public library system in the country that operates as many branches with as small a budget as our library system does. And the last time I checked the library budget was about 2% of the total Knox County budget.

I'm amazed that all 17 branches remain open, given the budget cuts in recent years.

And "no staff will be laid off" probably means that a lot of staff are getting their hours cut.

I'm sorry to see this happen. I wish people valued the library system more highly.

MDB's picture

Its not just Knoxville

My partner works for a public library system in the Washington, DC area, and they're also going through cuts -- 15% off the budget.

Full time employees' jobs are safe (for now...), but they're cutting back hours, and lots of part timers are being let go. The library pages (the part time folks who do stuff like shelve books) are all going to be let go, but some can be re-hired... at minimum wage. Now, its not a high-wage job to begin with, and a lot of them are either students working for spending money, or older people who are working to keep busy, but still, that bites.

Plus, the entire system expects to have to take at least one day of unpaid leave next year.

Not pleasant. And this is in a very wealthy jurisdiction, too.

"I'm not a member of any organized political party. I'm a Democrat." -- Will Rogers

TuffTiff's picture

Guess I should return my books.

I love the libraries in Knox County. We take my step-daughter to Burlington for story time, Downtown on Sundays, and South Knoxville for night-time reads. This really saddens me. But at least I will still have the opportunities...maybe just not so convenient.

smalc's picture

The Knox County libraries

The Knox County libraries are a valuable asset, even to a non-county resident like my family. We have a non-resident card, which I believe is $20 or $30 per year. Don't tell anyone, but we would pay a good deal more for it.

But, yes, the hours were already limited. Too bad.

Anonymously Nine's picture

Typical Ragsdale

Remember when Ragsdale said he would save 1.5 million dollars out of the county budget? This is one of his favorite ploys. Ragsdale is trying to make the case the county needs the six million from the sale of Hillcrest. So create a little pain at the libraries to drive the point home. Wait until you see what else he wants to sell.

Ragsdale2010's picture

Weren't sale tax projections expected to remain steady?

Under Ragsdale World's creative accounting for local county budgets.

As the state government begins layoffs and other public acknowledgement of tremendous budget shortfalls, primarily attributed to diminished sales tax revenue, when will our local government fess up and tell us how bad off our local collections are?

This was a failed budget from the get go and Ragsdale knew it when he submitted it.

Anonymously Nine's picture


This was a failed budget from the get go and Ragsdale knew it when he submitted it.

You can watch the old budget meetings at Finance Director John Troyer said time and time again we would meet the sales tax projection numbers. Troyer refused to work with County Commission on this past budget. Each time he carried Ragsdale's water.

Ironically County Commission can do nothing about Troyer. The recall amendment doesn't touch him. You've been Ragsdaled again.

Can't wait to see where "reads to children" spreads the pain next.

jah's picture

I know I've been using the

I know I've been using the library a lot more lately.

knoxvegas99's picture


"The Knox County Public Library does a fantastic job."

Agreed. I just lament the cutback. Larry Frank has worked miracles on a slender budget.

Larry Van Guilder

Hayduke's picture

The logical thing to do

The logical thing to do would be to close branches we can't afford. It's what Larry would like to do, but the County insists he just keep stretching and pretending like he has a real budget.

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