Monday, January 25, 2010

Difficult Times

As many of you know by now, the Library and the City have been hit by the recent economic downturn. The bottom line for the General Fund of the City, which funds library services, is that the revenues do not match the current budgeted expenditures. The Library, along with all other City departments has made cuts to meet this shortfall. The following cuts have been made to the library’s current budget and to the budget for the next 2 year budget cycle:

An additional $50,000 cut to cuts already made in funds for temporary, hourly workers. This area of the budget will now be down to the amount of money needed for the remainder of the year to fund library pages, delivery drivers and IT assistants who help the public with our computers. There will be a little bit of money available for fill behind for absences but very little. In the next 2 year budget this will also be a cut, however, staff will do a better job of spreading the needs for fill behind throughout the year and there will be more money available for this than right now. The impact of this budget cut will be longer waits for service systemwide, fewer staff on desks and possible limited time devoted to programming.

An $80,000 cut in the $ 362,000 library materials budget spread over all three library sites and in all library materials. This will reduce our materials budget to $282,000 which is 6% of total budget and $3.34 per capita. The recommended portion of a library budget for library materials is 10% to 12%. This is lower than many of the Bay Area libraries of our size. This cut will result in fewer library materials, longer waits for new and popular materials as a result of fewer copies, less depth of collection and the possible discontinuation of electronic databases.

The most difficult cut and the one with the greatest impact is the reduction of the open hours of the library’s two branches. The hours of operation for each of the branch libraries will be from 53 hours per week to 23 hours per week. Each site will be open three days per week and closed mornings of their one evening open. A single compliment of staff alternates between sites. The current Rincon staff is operating both branches. The Springtown staff has moved to the Civic Center Library and there have been layoffs as a result of this cut in funding. The new branch hours are posted elsewhere on thei site. Staff intends to continue to try to deliver as many any of our popular and important programs currently offered at the branches such as the Homework Hangout, Lawyers in the Library, Family Storytime. However, with reduced hours the days of these programs have changed as well as the amount of times the programs are offered.

I have spent over 24 years getting our library where it is today. I am not pleased about these changes which are taking us backward. However, we had no choice as there is just not enough money to continue to provide services at the levels we have previously enjoyed. For the moment there are no hour changes proposed at the Civic Center. We are not alone as all other departments in the City are experiencing cuts as well including Police. We can only hope that things will get better over time.

We are increasing our volunteer opportunities and many in the community have stepped forward to help us put on programs such as Paws to Read, the Homework Center at the Rincon Branch and as craft assistants for children’s programs. Assistance in the maintenance of the library by volunteering as shelf stewards has helped us keep the libraries organized and looking great. If anyone would like to volunteer, please contact Librarian Blanche Angelo at 925-373-5500 Ext. 5574. Your help is very much appreciated.


There are some positive things happening for the library. Wells Fargo Bank has given us a $5,000 grant to support the Free2 Succeed Job Center at the Civic Center Library. Representatives from Wells Fargo presented the check to members of the Library Board in front of the Civic Center Library at 10:30 am on Friday, December 18.
The Free2 Succeed Job Center offers one on one career counseling sessions. Sessions are averaging 50 per month with a waiting list for scheduling of 35 to 40 people. These private, free sessions offer career planning advice, techniques for successful interviewing and skills for online job applications as well as resume suggestions and critiques with general career and job counseling thrown in.

The Annual Livermore Reads Together campaign is happening again in February this year. The chosen book is John Steinbeck’s Travels with Charley In Search of America. Supported by a generous contribution from the Friends, the month long celebration has been kicked off with a presentation by Tom Steinbeck, John Steinbeck’s son on Sunday, January 24 at 2 pm at the Civic Center Library. This exciting event featured a display of a 1950’s travel trailer and entertainment by Extended Roots.

During the month a Steinbeck photographic exhibit will be on display in the Civic Center Art Gallery. Other events include TV host Doug McConnell, movie night with the feature film Grapes of Wrath at the Vine Theater, programs highlighting dogs, road trips, Steinbeck and much, much more. All of the events are listed on this library website and in brochures available at all libraries.
We hope everyone will read this exciting book and take part in all the wonderful programs being presented in conjunction with Livermore Reads Together.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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