Library Faces Significant Budget Cuts

The Jacksonville Public Library faces a significant reduction in staffing, service hours and materials in Fiscal Year 2013 if the City Council approves the $4.66 million budget cut requested by Mayor Alvin Brown. He will present his budget to the City Council July 16; the council will discuss and debate the budget this summer, with a final vote due by Sept. 29.

Under the proposed budget:

  • All libraries will be closed on Sundays, with reduced hours during the week.
  • The Main Library will be open 48 hours per week; branches will be open 40 hours per week, with most closed on Mondays in addition to Sundays.
  • The budget for materials such as books, DVDs and downloadable items will be cut by $500,000. That’s a a 49% reduction since 2005.
  • 71 full time positions will be eliminated—a significant loss of expertise and talent.

Jacksonville’s libraries were visited nearly 5 million times last year and items were checked out nearly 9 million times—a testimony to the need for our services. When the library is closed, people out of work have fewer opportunities to look for a job online or apply for assistance. Non-profit organizations lose their meeting room space. Those who want to learn to read or earn their GED have fewer chances to do so.

Your support of the library is needed now more than ever. Stay tuned for updates on the budget process and visit our Support Us page to see how you can help.

11 comments

  1. Instead of cutting the library budget, the Mayor should cut his non vital improvement project.. ie more hiking trails, kayak and boat areas, end the free swim lessons, open swim,etc… Things that benefit far fewer people in the community as a whole.

    1. “sad that it has become so devalued.” ,,, u r so right Ann. I love my Jacksonville public libraries and I get that feeling also. I am there ALL the time. Im sadden by this news too.

  2. The Mayor could raise taxes on some people to support the library. I’d pay a voluntary tax or allocate part of my taxes. The library is perhaps the most democratic and worthwhile thing in Jacksonville. We had libraries when the schools weren’t accredited. Our library system is one of the few things that makes the “first coast” first class. It’s outstanding and vitally important.

  3. The mayor could raise taxes on some people to support the library. Raising taxes and bond issues are things that help fund local projects. Arguably, the library is the most important public project there is (thank you Mr. Carnegie). Cutting the library budget is like stabbing ourselves in the foot. I’m so tired of hearing about “world class”. Our library system is world class or at least comparable to other cities of similar size. I’m seething. I would be willing to pay more tax to support the library, wouldn’t you?

    1. I would agree to a nominal tax increase, or to eliminating the grace period for overdue materials (even though I have benefitted from that), or to a slight increase in the fine for overdue materials…..or to a combination of the above. I strongly agree that the library is a vitally important community resource that deserves preservation. I readily admit my ignorance, but I wonder how much revenue could be generated if there were a nominal annual fee ($5). Would that make a dent in the budget shortfall?

      1. I just feel that the same kind of taxes (on property owners) that support the schools, the police force, the fire department, public radio, are the kind of taxes that should support the library. $5 would be nothing to me or you, but to someone struggling to pay the rent or keep clothes on the children, $5 is a lot of money. So many taxes are totally regressive. The people who most need the library can least afford to pay for it, and I think it would be counterproductive to charge people for the use of the public library. The fines and the book sales are okay, but they’re not big revenue drivers. What is needed is some kind of dedicated funding that doesn’t disappear every time things get a little rough.

        Of course, the library is caught in the same trap as the rest of our city government. The pension obligations are continuing to grow, and people are losing their jobs, which doesn’t seem like the appropriate way to control it. I don’t have any answers, but perhaps a .1 cent surcharge on purchase at the Town Center would help. I only know that the poorest among us shouldn’t be burdened any more than they are already, and I’m not willing to give up the services of a civilized society. I simply don’t understand the constant refusal to consider tax increases.

  4. I love my Jacksonville Public Library and I wish they would stop putting it up the chopping block everytime the city wants to cut the budget! I am an avid user of my libraries and I love it!

  5. I am wondering why you cannot charge a small fee for the use of the computers to get some income and also enforce the fines that are owed.
    Thank you,

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