Only Library in Jack County is Running Out of Funds

A facility very important to thousands of people might be shutting its doors. The Gladys Johnson Ritchie Library in Jacksboro, the only library Jack County has, is running out of funds. They do receive financial help from the county and city, but say it's just not enough.

The Gladys Johnson Ritchie Library receives $25,000 dollars from the county, and $15,000 dollars from the city. But that only covers eight months from the year because they need $5,000 dollars a month to stay open. They're asking the city to help out with another $10,000, but the city also has a tight budget.

Jacksboro's Gladys Johnson Ritchie Library Director Lanora Joslin says, "Our library is full almost every day. So if we close, it's really going to hurt the people." And it didn't take us long to find people who rely on its services daily. Jacksboro Resident Phillip Dew says, "I come here three or four times a week. And I learn about what's going on in the world by getting on the Internet."  And Jacksboro Resident Zachary McElreath says he goes to the library, "Just about once a week, every time I get a day off. And I don't have a computer at home. So, I come up here to use the Internet. And it keeps me in contact with my friends and family that don't live in the states."

But Joslin says since the new elementary was built in 2008, the library has lost a main source of its funding. She says, "They used it as an elementary library, did two-thirds of our funding, and the city and county only had to do about one-third. But when the school built a new elementary school, they no longer needed." So now the library is depending on the city, county, and donations to keep its doors open.

Joslin says, "But I need the 25,000 I asked for in order to survive 10 months because it takes $5,000 dollars a month. And I figure the other two months we can survive on donations, fees that we collect for copies, and things of that sort."  She says the facility is the only place in Jacksboro where people have public access to computers to apply for jobs, benefits, and seek higher education.

The library needs $10,000 dollars to operate for the remainder of this year. Joslin says that will take them through October. For November and December, she hopes to collect enough through donations. If you'd like to donate, you can do so at the Jacksboro Library. If they don't get enough funds, the library might close for a week or two each month for the remainder of the year.

Jessica Abuchaibe, Newschannel 6.