Missouri libraries struggle to stay open - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Missouri libraries struggle to stay open

Could public libraries be a thing of the past in Missouri?
Lawmakers are battling whether or not to with hold more than $6 million from the public library budget, and local libraries are already seeing an impact.

Canton Library officials say roughly 60 people come into the library every day, mostly for the free internet access.  Because of state cuts, internet costs rose almost 600 percent for the Canton library, which is forcing the library to consider all its options.

Cameron Quinlin comes to the library everyday to do research and search the web.  Quinlin believes the library is a huge benefit for the area.

"It helps with internet access and different varieties and different books and things like that, especially if you have an imagination," Quinlin said.  "They do a bunch of programs and stuff like that for little kids and the kids have a lot of fun up here too."

Library Director Robin Cockrell says the library is also a great place for kids to continue to learn after school is out.  

"We are within blocks of the grade school and high school," Cockrell said.  "So they walk here and use the library and then their parents pick them up at five or six when they get off work."

With their yearly internet bill going from $900 to more than $6,000, Cockrell says it's putting a heavy burden on the local library and may force them to do without.  Quinlin says losing internet access would be a big loss
"A lot of people come in and rely on the library for information.  And to be able to have not as much access it's going to be a struggle because a lot of people depend on getting on here and look up information and stuff they need," Quinlin said. 

However, Cockrell says it could be even worse if they can't come up with the money.

"If we don't have internet services, yeah I think we would shut down altogether.  I do all my work online and so does my assistant librarian," Cockrell said.

Cockrell says the library will look to try to sell other items to help pay for the costs as well as look for a new internet provider.  She also hopes to get into contact with local organizations to help organize fundraisers to pay for library expenses.

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