Collin County Could Cut Funding for Public Libraries

Collin County Commissioners are considering axing more than $236,000 in funding to public libraries.

Commissioners voted this month to stop paying for a program that spreads the funding to the libraries in eight cities. The cities include Allen, Celina, Farmersville, McKinney, Melissa, Princeton, Prosper and Wylie.

"My immediate reaction was an acceleration of my heartbeat. It's that critical for us," said Celina Public Library Director Linda Shaw. "It's a devastating cut for me."

The cuts are not a done deal yet.

Under the proposed plan, cities would be denied the following amounts:

  • Allen: $47,282.50
  • Celina: $17,387.96
  • Farmersville: $15,962.04
  • McKinney: $69,844.75
  • Melissa: $17,235.05
  • Princeton: $17,597.76
  • Prosper: $20,463.82
  • Wylie: $30,786.63

It would mean Shaw won't be able to hire a part-time librarian like she expected. It could also mean less hours for the three people who work at her library, fewer books and reading programs may be in jeopardy.

"I can't sit back and let that happen," library volunteer Lisa Ferguson said. "I have children who live in Celina, and they need a library to go to."

Now volunteers, like Ferguson, are trying to rally support, hoping to sway votes before the budget is finalized next month.

County Commissioner Chris Hill said there are still options, including extending funding for one more year to give cities a chance to plan for the cuts.

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