Local News

June 30, 2014

Murray library to remain in Northwest Georgia system

After considering its options, officials with the Chatsworth-Murray County Library have decided to remain in the Northwest Georgia Regional Library System.

The regional system’s board voted unanimously Monday at a called meeting at its headquarters in Dalton to accept a letter from the Chatsworth-Murray board to remain in the system.

“We need to work together as one unit, and I think we are,” said Ann Compton, chairman of the regional library system. “We’ve got some good programs. We are going to try to help them all that we can.”

The Chatsworth-Murray library’s board sent a letter to the regional system and to the state library system on Dec. 23, 2013, stating that the library intended to withdraw from the system as of June 30.

The Northwest Georgia Regional Library System is comprised of the Chatsworth-Murray County Library, the Dalton-Whitfield County Library and the Calhoun-Gordon County Library.

“The reason for this action is to find a library system that’s more compatible with Chatsworth-Murray County, where there is clear and open communication. We also would like more representation and input in decision-making,” said the letter.

But on Monday, Marcia Kendrick, a regional library board member representing the Chatsworth-Murray system, said relations and communications between the two systems have improved in recent months. The letter from the Chatsworth-Murray board requesting to remain in the system specifically cited a vote this spring by the regional board to add a second member from Chatsworth-Murray. At the Monday meeting, the board also spent considerable time talking about how the regional system was working with Chatsworth-Murray to improve its accounting and bookkeeping.

Previously, Chatsworth-Murray had been the only system to have one representative on the regional board. The Calhoun-Gordon County Library has two regional board members and Dalton-Whitfield County Library has four members, reflecting their relative sizes.

Regional board members are appointed by local governments to three-year terms. They set all policies for the regional library system. They also hire the regional director, who runs the day-to-day operations of the regional system. The regional board meets January, April, July and October, with the meetings rotating throughout each of the member libraries.

The regional library system and its individual members had about $1 million in local operating revenue in fiscal 2013 and had about 24,000 registered patrons.

“The addition of the new board member played a major role (in Chatsworth-Murray’s decision to stay),” said Kendrick. “Before, we did not feel like we were getting the representation we deserved.”

But Kendrick also admitted Chatsworth-Murray’s attempt to find a new regional system to partner with wasn’t successful. The state of Georgia has had a moratorium on new single-county library system for the past four years, and Chatsworth-Murray could have lost state funding if it couldn’t find a new regional system to partner with.

Linda Floyd, director of the regional system, agrees the relationship between the two sides has improved.

“We all want to work together,” she said. “We’ve been working with the staff there. As long as we put our patrons first and work as a team, everything is going to be great.”

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