Area officials have heard the community outcry this week and have agreed to a sitdown meeting to discuss the funding needs of the Tuscaloosa Public Library in the near future.

Attorney Bryan Winter serves as TPL's treasurer, and he told the Thread Tuesday that leaders in two local governments will assemble in November to discuss what is possible to help the library continue to provide its services.

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The coming discussions were sparked by a series of cost-reducing measures TPL announced Monday. The library relies on funding from the governments of Tuscaloosa and Tuscaloosa County to survive, with additional help sometimes coming from the city of Northport.

Winter said the library's funding has remained stagnant for years while the cost of everything under the sun has risen dramatically, and TPL's board of directors has had to make steep programming cuts to stretch their dollars.

The cuts announced Monday included the elimination of the library's Overdrive/Libby electronic database, which would cut access to more than 40,000 e-books and other digital offerings.

TPL said they will also have to permanently close their Brown Branch in southern Tuscaloosa County early next year.

The Monday announcements drew out vocal community support for the library, and Winter said the message has been received by elected officials who have agreed to learn more.

"Leaders at the city of Tuscaloosa and in the Tuscaloosa County government are aware of these challenges and a meeting is scheduled with the leadership of TPL in the near future to address these issues," Winter said Tuesday. "TPL is grateful for their support."

For more on the ongoing conversations about the future of the Tuscaloosa Public Library and how to fund that future, stay connected to the Tuscaloosa Thread.

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