Group gaining petitions to help libraries

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - As Jacksonville's public libraries face more budget cuts this year, one group is looking at ways to prevent these budget problems in the future.

Save Our Libraries dropped off more than 3,200 petitions at the Duval County Supervisor of Elections Office on Thursday morning. It's trying to get a straw poll on the 2014 ballot to ask voters if they want to create a special tax district to fund the libraries.

The tax district would give the libraries a dedicated source of funding so they don't face budget cuts year after year.

"For nine years in a row, they've lost a lot of their budget," said Helene Kamps-Stewart, of Save Our Libraries. "Last year, the budget, we lost a quarter of our services, and if the budget passes this year with the $2.4 million cut, we will have half of the services we had two years ago."

Right now, six library branches are in danger of closing due to budget cuts.

Nearly 13,000 petitions from Save Our Libraries have already been certified, not including the ones turned in Thursday.

The group needs 26,000 certified petitions to get the straw poll question on the ballot.

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