In just the past 24 hours, I have heard or read seven national news stories about the role of libraries in these challenging economic times, often when library funding is being cut.
All of the stories stress that people turn to libraries for help with a job search, computer classes, free wifi, free family programs, books, AV materials… the list goes on.
In many of these communities, especially ones in which the library is part of city government, the library has experienced major financial set backs and been forced to reduce hours, lay off staff, close branches at the same time the need and demand for library services is exploding.
KPL is a district library and directly responsible to the voters. Our revenues are flat this year….state aid has been reduced, interest income is flat, there is limited growth in our property tax base. We are trimming some “backroom” operations, not filling some staff vacancies, continuing to look for efficiencies in our processes. We have not had to reduce hours, close branches, or drop entire services.
"...more people are re-discovering the value of the public library.” (CBS News)
As with the libraries mentioned in these national news stories, our use is up in all areas: our total circulation is up 10% so far this year, AV over 20%; patron assistance is up 22%, computer use over 50%. Program attendance is strong too.
I am often asked about our funding. We will have a millage renewal vote on May 5. This is our basic operational millage approved by the voters 20 years ago. It provides about 95% of our revenue. Its renewal will allow us to continue to provide these services: materials, programs, branches, computer classes among many others.
Come visit soon!
In Recession, Libraries Are Booming