Crime is down...bad for the library


Michigan Live has an article on fine collecting at libraries. Should we be so dependant on fines for our budget?

\"Fewer Ogemaw County court cases mean fewer fines from law violators. Shrinking penal fines, in turn, are slicing about $52,000 from the library\'s budget this year and last. That\'s a deeper cut than the 95-year-old institution can stomach.\"

\"So library planners are turning to voters. The Aug. 8 primary ballot asks voters to decide whether the West Branch District Library is worth a new .3-mill tax.\"

The proposal is for West Branch and Ogemaw, Edwards and West Branch township residents only - the region the district library serves.\"

\"We\'ve never had a library millage here,\" said Marsha Boyd, district librarian. \"We\'re dependent on penal fines for 80 percent of our funding.\"

\"The .3-mill levy would generate nearly $49,000 yearly for the library - nearly what the institution has lost in penal funding since last year.\"

\"You can see we don\'t have grandiose plans like building a second story,\" Boyd said. \"We just need to maintain our library at the level we\'re operating now.\"

\"That level is already skinny, board members say. The district library recently cut a full-time position - its children\'s librarian - its hours and its book budget. It operates 40 hours weekly on a $185,000 annual budget, Boyd said.\"

\"We\'ve reduced and reduced again,\" she said. \"I don\'t know what\'s left other than to completely cut our book budget. But libraries are books.\"