Money Issues

On the Politics of Numbers

"It's not so good with money as it's bad without."
-- Sam Levinson

Michael McGrorty writes: "Years from now, when the state and local governments are flush again, when the tap flows once more to local services, when we reach that state of near-equilibrium that passes for good times in the public library, the wiser heads among us will look back at the chaos of this time and wonder if there wasn't some way to prevent it.

And of course, as with all hindsight, the answers will seem painfully obvious: We should have planned better; there should have been reserves; we should have remembered that the curve always tends downward, that tomorrow always comes.


Library jobs cut; more to come as U-M trims staff

Bad News From the University of Michigan. Broad discussions of state budget cuts at the University of Michigan turned into a specific list of layoffs Thursday when the campus library system confirmed it will terminate 15 full-time employees, eliminate 16 vacant positions and reduce 11 full-time jobs to part-time.


More library cuts could jeopardize federal funds

"State Librarian Virginia Lowell said any further budget cuts to the state's library system could jeopardize funding received from the federal government."

"Lowell said the $900,000 the state receives to help computerize the library system could be reduced if the library budget drops below a certain level. She said the state is close to that benchmark which she defined as 95 percent of the libraries' average budget for the past three years."

"We are teetering on the edge," she said." (from Hawaii Tribune)


Hawaii state Librarian criticized for response to cuts

Gov. Linda Lingle yesterday criticized state Librarian Virginia Lowell for failing to come up with ways to keep libraries open longer than 40 hours a week in the face of statewide budget cuts. The Lingle administration has ordered all state agencies to trim their budgets by as much as 5 percent in the face of less-than-stellar increases in revenues and her desire to forgo the use of $175 million in the Hawai\'i Hurricane Relief Fund. Sen. Bob Hogue Called for Lowell\'s resignation.

Full Story.

\"While community input is important, it\'s not the deciding factor of what days to close,\" she said at the time. \"It\'s finances that\'s driving the plan here. The real solution here is to put pressure on the lawmakers to adequately fund the library system.\"


Minneapolis might lose new library

Greg writes "My my, those library budgets are sure easy things to cut..."

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports that the showplace central library that Minneapolis is planning to build is now threatened by cost-conscious city officials. This is a tough challenge for brand-new library director Kit Hadley. Part of the problem is that, though voters approved the new construction, the city council has yet to vote to issue the necessary bonds. The MPL system faces, "A $25 million shortfall in its operating budget over the next 10 years...roughly equal to the entire cost of running the system this year."

The MPL website has a good information page about the project, including a picture of the half-demolished shell of the previous Central library.


Library scofflaws on loose in Morris New Jersey

Ryan passed over This One From New Jersey on those of us who will call police to report those who fail to return books, videos and other library materials.
They say some libraries decide that the battle to recover their losses is just not worth it. The Jefferson Township Library, which sends out 80 to 90 overdue notices per week, does not pursue complaints.
Same Kinda Story from Colorado.

\"Libraries make every effort not to beat up on patrons, When somebody goes to buy a car or a house,\" Seebohm said, they come in here screaming, \'Why are you doing this?\'\"


Oxford College sells Shakespeare First Folio to pay bills

Charles Davis passed along This One
that says One of English literature\'s most valuable works - a First Folio of William Shakespeare\'s plays - has been sold by Oxford University\'s Oriel College for an estimated £3.5 million to pay for building repairs and textbooks.
The book, which was printed in 1623 and has been
kept in the college\'s library for more than two
centuries, was bought by Sir Paul Getty, the
philanthropist, in a private deal concluded in New


Embattled libraries must put patrons first

An Article From Hawaii with a near impossible budget squeeze, the state public library system has gone into triage mode. As on a battlefield or in an emergency room, the system is struggling to save what can be saved with limited resources while the rest will be left to die.
They say it\'s imperative that as schedules are scaled back, the needs and desires of each library\'s customer base be considered first. This is a classic customer service aspect of government, and must be run with that customer in mind.


Libraries battle proposed funding cuts

Sad News From New York where Gov. George Pataki wants to cut funding to libraries. Pataki is proposing a 15 percent cut in aid to the state’s 23 library systems. Now libraries are lobbying Albany lawmakers over their importance.
If approved by the state Legislature, the cuts could force libraries to limit programs, reduce hours of operation, curtail book orders, eliminate a popular summer reading program for children and slash jobs.

A Similar Story from South Carolina where Several years ago, state aid to libraries was about $2 per capita, it\'s about $1.17 per capita and falling.
Georgia Says the Libraries were ignored during the state’s times of prosperity, state library funds have not increase in 19 years, and are now being cut. In CaliforniaMeanwhile, Over In The UK, Libraries shut in \'booze over books\' row.


The Linux Uprising

David Goldman writes \"For all those librarians public, corporate, legal and university who still rely on Microsoft products I highly recommend reading this Business Week article. BTW the software which runs is free...yes free. So the next time someone tries to sell your library a web page package upgrade for only $1000.00 or more (not including the cost of programming in coldfusion) think about running postnuke on a Linux server. Doing this will surely make your budget administrator as well as your patrons smile.\"

I\'ll also point out that LISNews runs on PHPSlash which is what PostNuke based their code on. As usual, check out OSS4Lib and /usr/lib/info for lots of good library open source stuff. The BusinessWeek article is a nice look at the history of Linux, not exactly library stuff, but it\'s a nice start for those who don\'t know the story.



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