For many years, the county of Somervell and the city of Glen Rose have had the benefit of both a Historical Commission and the Heritage Library. While I do not know much about what the Historical Commission has done, I can tell you a bit about the Heritage Library.
During this period, great care has been taken to capture information from all over the county and beyond. People have voluntarily brought in their old photos and documents in an attempt to ensure that these family treasures are preserved in perpetuity. Some of these documents were donated or placed on loan to the library.
In other cases, the photos were photographed using the Paluxy Valley Archives and Genealogical Society (www.paluxyvalleygenealogy.com) equipment or otherwise copied in detail and this information archived in the most responsible way using acid-free materials.
Much of this information, if not captured when it was, would have been lost for all time.
If the budget issues cause the library to be shut down, then I feel certain that information and photos that have yet to be captured and preserved will be lost for all time. Further, without a dedicated preservationist in charge of all these assets, entropy will ensue.
Unsupervised access, however well intentioned, to these documents will result in not only increasing disarray, but also loss of irreplaceable information and photos that have been placed there in an effort to preserve them for future generations.
Said another way, these records will degrade dramatically over time. It seems as if we are doing systemic long-term damage for hopefully shorter-term budget issues. Hopefully, there are other areas wherein cuts can also be made to offset the salary/benefits of retaining this one individual.
Of course, the reason to preserve this information is to make it available to those who want it. While the Paluxy Valley Archives and Genealogical Society has over the years contributed tens of thousands of dollars for equipment (computers, photographic equipment, film etc. etc.) and also materials for preservation (such as acid free papers and other items), Somervell County has provided the building, utilities and, most importantly, people with a passion for preserving and sharing the history of Somervell County.
What was discussed with the PVA&GS the other da will lead to the dissolution and loss of the current assets and other assets that will never be captured and preserved as well as the closing off of what assets there are from public view.
I am not sure what the visitor count is nor do I have a basis for estimating the value of the visitors to Glen Rose or the county, but I can assure you that what the citizenry of Glen Rose and Somervell County will lose is irreplaceable.
And the hard work of the employees as well as the PVA&GS fundraisers, including many, many "penny auctions," garage sales, etc. will all be irretrievably lost.
I recommend that the county reconsider dropping all staff and take the more measured step of reducing the staffing, rather than eliminating it and incurring the aforementioned losses.