ATLANTA — Starting in November, most visitors to the Georgia Archives in Morrow will have to make an appointment to do their research in two-hour blocks.
On Monday, Secretary of State Brian Kemp released the schedule that will be in effect Nov. 1. The archives will be open by appointment only on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays during the first and second week of each month. It will be closed to the public entirely during the third and fourth weeks of each month.
Kemp spokesman Jared Thomas said the center is laying off seven of its 10 workers as part of a statewide directive from Gov. Nathan Deal to cut costs.
Kemp said he will work with the governor and lawmakers to restore funding so the center can again open to the public.
The secretary of state oversees the archives, which had been open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
Kemp has said he believes the changes will make the Georgia Archives the only one in the country without regular public hours. Opponents have warned that such
cuts will stifle research and conservation efforts.
Deal has ordered every state office to reduce spending by 3 percent for the rest of the budget year, which runs through June 30, and again in the following year. That totals almost $733,000 for Kemp’s office.
The archives house historical records commonly used for everything from scholarly research to family trees. Employees also work to preserve important documents.
The plan will allow for 288 visitors – nearly the same number the archives accommodates each month.
Most will be limited to two hours, but some 2½-hour appointments are available in the original documents section.
Anyone using the Open Documents Research Area will have to tell staffers what they need when they make the appointment so that the records can be pulled and waiting when they arrive.