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Director's Column

PLSJC Director Alan Hall writes a weekly column discussing library and community news, history, and other interesting subjects.

The 2011 Library Budget

By Alan Hall, Director, PLSJ
Publish Date - Sunday, December 19, 2010

The 2011 budget for the Public Library of Steubenville and Jefferson County has been approved by the Library Board, and is being readied to become the financial operating plan for the library system next year.

 

That plan became possible with the approval of the library’s first-ever operating levy, approved by county voters in the Nov. election.

 

The financial plan allows the library system to proceed with all of the promises made to voters as part of that election process, including the return of library hours at three locations.

 

Hours will be restored at Schiappa, Toronto, and Brilliant Branches beginning Monday, April 25.

 

This will involve a return of some staff to previous work locations, and the return of some staff from layoff.

 

The purchase of new books, CDs, DVDs, and e-books will begin slowly in 2011, as we need to return staff to our Cataloging Department to allow things to “return to the shelves.”

 

We are proud of the fact that we have stabilized the cost of library operations with changes to utility consumption, purchase of supplies, and multi-tasking of work within the system, causing the library to ask for the minimum amount necessary for the levy.

 

Every day, I look at my office wall with the “Save our Libraries” sign, with my “Ask me about the Levy” button, and understand the commitment made by county voters to their library.

 

Everyone now has a vested interest in their local library, and I have the responsibility to implement the plans that were approved by the public.

 

My excitement is the fact that we are issuing new library cards in record numbers!

 

The promotion of the library levy has had the impact of promoting the library to area citizens.

 

And that is why we are here -- to serve the public.  We still do the same thing that the library was intended to do when it was formed in 1899, to provide information.

 

What have changed are the tools that we have available to do that job for you.

 

The levy campaign has changed other things around the library.

 

More people are donating more new books to the library!  People are sharing books, DVDs, and CDs with the library to enhance or replace items in our collections.

 

More people are supporting the library through donations of time, money, and “things.”

 

More people understand the importance of a library to the community.

 

More people are supporting the library in a variety of ways, including contacting state legislators to express their support.

 

Remember, the majority of the library budget still comes from the Public Library Fund, provided by the State of Ohio.

 

An area of the library system that is under development is the Bookmobile program.

 

The library system has operated a Bookmobile since 1940, but our current vehicle “died” last month and is beyond repairs.

 

In addition, we are evaluating the program to re-establish deliveries to nursing homes, care facilities, senior housing, and day care centers, and communities.

 

It will take some time to replace the vehicle, which was 6th that the library has owned since the start of service.

 

In conclusion, we are working on the implementation of the levy, but it will take time.

 

In the meantime, come and visit us!