The Jacksonville Public Library is facing significant budget cuts that will impact all library locations effective Oct. 1, 2011. The total cut to date comes to almost $3.5 million. It is important to understand how this figure came about, and what it means to you and our libraries.
In June, in preparation for the mayor’s 2012 budget proposal, the city budget office requested that the library cut $435,000 from the library’s current budget. The library was able to reduce expenses without eliminating positions or reducing service hours; we reduced contracts for security guards, some maintenance contracts, software licensing, and other similar charges. After factoring in internal service charges and interdepartmental charges, the total reduction to the library’s current budget was almost $906,000.
On August 25, the City Council Finance Committee directed the library to reduce its costs by another $2.1 million by closing all libraries one day per week. The library chose Monday as the most logical option.
On September 1, action by the Finance Committee on the city’s pension costs with regard to the actuarial study mandated the library operating budget be cut by an additional $476,266. These budget cuts would pay for the library’s share of additional city pension costs. The Board of Library Trustees met this week to approve plans to achieve this third budget cut.
The impact of the $3.5 million budget cuts will be the following:
- All libraries will be closed on Mondays.
- Main Library and four regional branches will be open four, rather than five, hours on Sundays. This will be accomplished by reducing hours at these locations during the week.
- The Maxville Branch Library will be closed.
- Neighborhood libraries, previously not impacted by the cuts, now will be open 32 hours per week Tuesday through Friday.
What do the cuts mean for staff positions?
In order to meet a budget reduction of this magnitude, 41 full-time positions will be eliminated. In addition, 25 to 30 part-time positions will be lost (13 FTEs).
What happens next?
The Jacksonville City Council will hold a public hearing on the city’s budget during its regularly scheduled meeting on September 13 beginning at 5 p.m. in the City Council Chamber at City Hall (117 West Duval Street). The final vote on the budget is September 27.
If you have questions or concerns about these proposed cuts, contact your council member. You can find the contact information for your council member by using the My Neighborhood search on the City of Jacksonville website.
Impact of $3.5 Million FY ’12 Budget Reduction on the Jacksonville Public Library
The total cuts being proposed for the Jacksonville Public Library’s budget amount to a reduction of $3.5 million (9% of the library’s operating budget). Following are some of the ramifications of these cuts:
- 41 full-time positions and 25 to 30 part-time positions will be lost.
- The 21 libraries will lose between 235 and 260 hours each week of service to the public (a 21-23% reduction in service).
- In 2010 (the latest complete year of data), customers used library computers for 225,000 computer sessions on days that will no longer be options for them. Because of the popularity of the computers on all days, most lost opportunities on one day of the week could not be made up on another.
- Customers made approximately 920,000 visits to libraries on days that will no longer be options for them.
- This number of visits includes thousands of children and teens, who count on libraries as a safe place for homework and learning activities after school.
- Community groups will have to find another place to hold over 5,000 meetings because one weekday each week will no longer an option and there aren’t enough openings on other days of the week to accommodate them.
- Customers who would have checked out library materials on Monday (approximately 1.5 million items in 2010) will no longer have that option.
- 10,000 hours of literacy instruction could be lost.
- As many as 1,800 fewer programs will be offered for children, teens and adults.