Lead encourages residents to express library support to county

LEAD — It’s unclear whether the Lawrence County Commission will reverse plans to reduce funding to county libraries, but Lead city officials are encouraging residents to contact county commissioners with their concerns before a Sept. 28 decision.

Last month the county commission announced its intention to cut library funding by 10%, a move which would affect libraries in Deadwood, Lead, Whitewood and Spearfish. Sarah Shoop, director of the Phoebe Apperson Hearst Library in Lead said the original idea was to cut the funding by 30% every year for three years, until county funding ceased.

“It is still unclear whether cuts will be 10% every year,” Shoop said after attending the county commission meeting Tuesday. “Somebody asked where the money would go instead and there was no answer. That’s what frustrates me is there are no answers.”

Former city administrator Mike Stahl told the commission that he believes there will be further cuts.

“The intent is to completely disenfranchise libraries throughout the county,” he said.

Commissioner Steve Stewart said he had spoken to a few commissioners, who reported receiving so many emails that they didn’t have to time to answer them all. Overall, the commission urged residents to continue expressing their views to the county.

“I encourage that if folks don’t want to see that 10% cut that you write to your county commissioners and say why,” said Commissioner Kayla Klein. “Be an advocate for your libraries. I know I will be.”

Members of the Lawrence County Commission include Randy Deibert, Brandon Flanagan, Daryl Johnson, Randall Rosenau, and Richard Sleep. Email correspondence can be sent to commissioners@lawrence.sd.us, or concerned citizens may call 578-1941.

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