Library Sets FY13 Budget
Pending the release of budget allocation figures from Allegany County and the State of Maryland, the Library Board approved an operating budget for FY2013 starting July 1, 2012.
Despite what is shaping up to be another record breaking year in terms of library usage, the Allegany County Library System is anticipating flat funding for FY2013. Projected usage statistics for the current year show that over 550,000 items will be checked out in FY2012.
Faced with a 6th year of flat state and local funding, Taube recommended to the Library Board that the FY2013 budget realign services to focus on the facilities and services that serve the greatest number of citizens. In the past 5 years the Library Board has transferred funds from library reserve accounts to maintain continuity of services and operations at all facilities. Taube noted that these funds have been depleted and recommended to balance the budget by suspending bookmobile services and limiting its use to special events and outreach programs.
Savings from the suspension of bookmobile service will come from the transfer of staff to fill frozen vacancies and the reduction in the bookmobile collection budget. The new role of the bookmobile will allow the library system to minimize reductions to its collection budgets, maintain current hours at other facilities, maintain fiscal accountability by retaining our accounting contract, and attempt to keep pace with local wages. Taube and the Board noted that the suspension of bookmobile services is reversible given an economic upturn resulting in additional library funding.
Staff research showed that the bookmobile was more expensive to operate and served fewer citizens than the other locations. Using figures from FY2011 and FY2012, the cost per circulation on the bookmobile was $6.85 and the cost per visit was $8.05 whereas system averages were $3.05 per circulation and $4.97 per visit.
“Our staff do amazing work and are busier than ever, says John Taube, Library Director. Taube touted the efficiency and value of the library system stating “we operate at 1/5 the average funding per hour when compared to public libraries across the state; and still, each month we return close to $1 million worth of value of services to our community.”
The new schedule will take effect on July 1, 2012.