Libraries feeling funding pinch
Though not in danger of imminent closure, the Nevada County Library system is feeling the crunch of a tough economy and is seeking donations.We are actively seeking help, County Librarian Mary Ann Trygg told The Union, the Sierra Suns sister paper in Grass Valley. We know people love their library and want to keep it vibrant. Its a tough time for everybody, but if you want to see the library flourish, were asking you to donate. In Truckee, the Friends of the Library are concerned about the economic downturn as well.Were definitely feeling the economic pinch, said Pam McAdoo with Friends of the Library. The six-library system has been vibrant and growing in the 10 years since county voters approved and then extended an eighth-cent sales tax through 2018, Trygg said. Sales tax revenues make up the bulk of the librarys budget, but they are declining due to decreasing business transactions countywide.The library took $300,000 earlier this year from its $900,000 reserve fund to balance the recently completed 2007-2008 fiscal year budget, Trygg said. That will probably happen again to balance the current 2008-2009 budget of $2.7 million.With a declining reserve, an expected loss of around $50,000 from the state when legislators get around to a passing a budget, and a projection of about $1.7 million in sales taxes for the library for 2008-2009, Trygg is worried about a diminishing level of services.Were fearful well not get the full $1.7 million, Trygg said.The 2007-2008 library budget was based on projected sales tax income of $2.1 million, but actual tax income will probably be more like $1.7 million once the final tax funds roll in from the state, Trygg said.For Truckee this means a 25 to 30 percent cut in revenue from sales tax, requiring a 38 percent cut in the librarys material budget, said Lauri Ferguson, branch manager for Truckee.Though Friends of the Library have been very generous to us, they gave us money recently to purchase new book cds, Ferguson said.Already, hours have been cut for temporary staff members, some data bases for research have been eliminated and a number of magazine subscriptions have been canceled, Trygg said. Weve cut from the training budget and new book purchases, Trygg said. Plans to replace 12 computers this year across the system have been scaled down to replacing three.In Truckee, McAdoo said the library has had hiring cutbacks and reduced book purchasing.At the moment they havent cut back their hours and we hope not to, McAdoo said.During the 2007-2008 fiscal year, residents checked out 721,000 items and had 60,000 library cards, Trygg said.In Truckee alone the library has had about 108,000 visits this year, said Jois Child with Friends of the Library.For those interested in contributing, call the Truckee Library at 582-7846. The Sierra Suns Greyson Howard contributed to this report
Because of the high level of use at the Truckee Library and despite the economic downturn, Friends of the Library are still hopeful to find a bigger location in Truckee, said Jois Child with Friends of the Library.We have a wonderful 5,000 square-foot library trying to provide services to a fast-growing community, Child said. The library worksheet tells us we need 23,000 square feet.The Truckee Library expanded in 2003, but has already filled up the new space and is in need of more, said Lauri Ferguson, branch manager for Truckee.The Friends of the Library have been looking for community support both financially and picking a new place for the library, she said.The Building for Books Library Development Fund has accrued a little more than $12,000, Child said, and the group has been looking into possible locations at the recreation center, in the proposed Railyard development, or in partnership with the new Sierra College campus. Greyson Howard
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