Officials at the Athens-Limestone County Public Library are looking at cutting back hours and programs after losing some funding.
Employees and patrons said the library is more than just a place to grab a good book, but a place the community uses to spend time together.
"My heart, it broke," Laura Poe, the library's assistant director, said.
Poe says she's worked at the library for 11 years, and says this place is much more than just a job to her. That is why she's heartbroken that the county commission decided to cut funding by $30,000 for the upcoming year.
"We have so many resources for people looking for jobs, for computers, how to use them, skills that people need going back into the workforce. There's so much we have to offer, and this cut, it's gonna hurt," Poe said.
She said for the past ten years, they've received $80,000 in funding from the commission, even though they ask for about $135,000.
During Monday's meeting, the commission decided to only approve the library for $50,000 for the upcoming year. Poe says this will also cause them to lose some of their state funding.
She says because of the cut, they may have to get rid of some of the programs and services they offer, decrease the amount of hours they're open and reduce employees' hours.
"This is the one place where you can come, where if you look at everything here, it's to be shared. It's a sharing place with computers with books, with the programs they put on, and you're going to lose that ability to share," Craig Beasley, a patron, said.
Poe said she is waiting to hear why the commission cut their funding, but until then, the staff says they're going to keep doing the best they can.
"We're really sad to hear about the budget decisions, but we are going to do our best to provide our best to our patrons still, no matter what happens," Ambie Hyatt, the library's assistant youth services director, said.
WAAY 31 reached out to the Limestone County Commission to ask why it cut some of the library's funding, and we are waiting to hear back.