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Since getting hit by budget cuts last month, the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library system permanently closed three branches, cut hours at others and laid off workers.
But across the region, it's a different story.
Most area county governments - the primary funding source for many libraries - are spending slightly more on their libraries in this fiscal year, which began July 1, than in the past fiscal year, according to an Observer survey of 13 regional county budgets.
Lincoln County commissioners, for example, gave their library system about $35,000 more this year for materials, upgrades to its Internet system and an additional employee.
Five of the region's systems are dealing with overall reductions. In some cases, including Mecklenburg, the cutbacks began earlier this calendar year.