GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. - Gwinnett County public libraries are now selling advertisements on bookmarks to help offset severe budget cuts.
The bookmarks will be more than placeholders; they'll be announcements or coupons from local businesses.
"We can offer them a very inexpensive way to get their advertising messages out to the public,"
Library Board Chairman Phillip Saxton said.
Saxton said the ad sales are just part of an initiative to raise money for Gwinnett County's 15 branches.
Declining tax dollars forced county officials to slash $2.8 million from the library budget last year. The board has cut hours and positions.
But, Saxton said that cannot be the only solution.
"We cannot afford to continue to cut back. We have to find ways to raise money so we can offer even more programs," Saxton said.
Last month, county officials reported in 2011, Gwinnett
patrons checked out 7.7 million books and other materials from libraries, an 11 percent increase from 2010.
Channel 2's Kerry Kavanaugh spoke to library patrons who said it makes sense to seek community support for libraries since they are
"This is the only access some people have to computers. It's the only access some kids have to books, except for their school libraries," Hamilton Mill patron and mother Abby Knoll said.
Saxton believes it will result in a win-win for the branches and for the businesses.
"We want everyone who comes in to walk out with a bookmark," Saxton said.
For $300, businesses can purchase 5,000 bookmarks. They can choose the branch they want them at or spread them out
Saxton said he hopes the ads will eventually generate $100,000 in library revenue a month.