Sunday, June 12, 2016

Leonia Library - reductions caused by budget cut


Due to budget reductions in the library's 2016 municipal budget ($103,000 less than in 2015), the Board of Trustees has authorized the following changes in service.  Working closely with Library Director Matthew Latham, we have done our best to minimize the impact on quality of service while adjusting to fiscal realities.

     As of July 1, 2016, the library will close evenings at 8pm rather than 9pm.
     The library will be closed Saturdays in July as well as, in the past, in August.
     As of September 3, 2016, Saturday opening will be 10am - 2pm. The library will remain closed on Sundays.
     The Local History Room will not have public opening hours as of July 1, 2016.   Requests for access will be by appointment.
     There will be only one public service point for public assistance on the library's main (upper) level as of July 1, 2016.
     Library events and programs will also see reductions.

These new policies result from the necessity to eliminate staff, since labor costs represent the highest portion of a budget and the library cannot run as before without staff to do so. The library will lose one full-time staff member (reducing full-time staff from six to five); our part-time archivist; and more than 60% of part-time worker hours. The library has also reduced every operating expense, including books and AVs, to a minimum and is using non-municipal funds to supplement operating expenses wherever possible. Unfortunately, these non-municipal funds cannot be used for salaries.

Given new funding levels, the board believes that these changes reflect the best possible adaptation.  Sundays are the slowest usage day, incur the highest labor cost due to higher Sunday rates, and are the most difficult to staff. The slowest hour of weekday usage is between 8pm and 9pm.  The Local History Room is of great value to the community and the collection will remain.  But since usage is low, access must now be by appointment only.  And library programs will necessarily be curtailed: remaining staff members will need to spend more time covering other essential tasks and have less time to plan, create, promote, and host programs.

The library board and staff will work to provide the highest level of service possible to the community.  We will work to continue to offer innovative and diverse services.  We will restore whatever we can with additional funding and/or donations.  We deeply appreciate the support and care the Leonia community has provided the library.

Please feel free to address questions to the board in care of