We all know the economy is hurting and that the effects of the economic downturn will be felt by all of us. Library funding is certainly no different. The Westerville Public Library will experience an 8% reduction in state revenue in 2009. Our philosophy is that we are all in this together and the library is doing its part by drastically curtailing our expenses without making cuts in programs and services.
I want to take this opportunity to let our community know how the library will address the budget reductions.
First, the library will have no increases in personnel costs for 2009. While current staff will receive a modest 2% pay increase, the library has instituted a hiring freeze for 2009. Currently, there are four vacant positions that will not be filled. Additional vacancies throughout the year will reduce personnel costs even more.
Secondly, the costs of purchasing library materials have been returned to 2007 levels. Also, all capital projects and repairs have been placed on hold until the economic climate improves.
However, while we have dramatically reduced our expenses, budget cuts alone are not enough. We must also enhance library revenues. So, the Library Board is asking for your help! Effective January 15, 2009, library fines will be increased to match those of other area libraries. Overdue fines for books, cds, etc. will increase from 10 cents per day to 20 cents per day. Overdue fines for DVD’s will increase from $1.00 per day to $1.25 per day.
Additionally, the maximum for fines and fees has been reduced from $5.00 to only $1.00. We are asking our customers to bring their library accounts up-to-date so that additional reductions will not be needed. We certainly understand the inconvenience of some of these initiatives and ask for your understanding and support as we move forward in this difficult economic climate with what we hope will be temporary measures. With your help, we will continue to provide the very best programs and services possible.
Thank you for your continuing support!
Don W. Barlow