JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- It was a busy afternoon inside the Brentwood branch of the Jacksonville public library Wednesday, but the books there could soon be shelved for good.
"It's going to be quite a loss to the community," said Lloyd Washington.
Washington said the Brentwood branch is a critical one. Kids walk there after school to read and study, his nephews included.
"It's a place where a lot of kids gather, keep them out of trouble," he said.
But it's a recourse that may not be available much longer. City budget cuts means the potential for six of Jacksonville's 21 public libraries to be shut down.
The City Council's finance committee voted Wednesday to save four of them: Beaches Regional, San Marco, University Park and Willowbranch. Brentwood didn't make that list. Neither did the Maxville branch.
"It's in the southwest part of the county, does not have any other libraries close to it," said Jacksonville Public Library Director Barbara Gubbin.
Finance committee members said they support closing two because of low patronage and circulation. But our cameras caught more than a dozen visitors at the library Wednesday afternoon.
"We can find money for everything we want to find money for. They should be able to find money to keep this library open," said Washington.
Full council will make the final call Sept. 24. Friends of the Library President Harry Reagan expects them to side with the finance committee's decision. But said he will use every second leading up to that vote to try to get them to change their mind.
"A neighborhood is not going to give up on its library very easily. They're going to fight," Reagan said.
Library leaders said their push to become an independent library district may have been a saving grace. They said the 18,000 signatures in support sent a strong message to council. They need 26,000 signatures to get the issue on the ballot for a vote.