I had an interesting email dialog with County Librarian Mary Ann Trygg this morning. First, she described the significant issues she’s having to juggle right now:
“Currently, we are working on several projects to bring in money to the library such as the Union newspaper plea, an upcoming NCTV Telethon, work with the PV Chamber of Commerce to help defray part of the costs in operating the Penn Valley Library, Sierra Cinemas fundraiser as well as an offer from the GV Elks to help.
And the library traditionally begins our Nevada County Reads programming this month. I have had many meetings to attend. Whew! I actually need to begin working on the budget for next fiscal year which will be challenging in that we do not know the direction the library will take until the 23rd.”
February 23rd, of course, is the date of the next County Board of Supervisors meeting, at which time County Executive Officer Rick Haffey should be making his recommendation on a library management plan. The Board is widely expected to make a decision at that time.
“As the Librarian I feel that I can say that the difference between option A and D lies in the fact that if the Board were to choose A the Library Department would be able to offer many more library services to the public, even in this difficult time, than if they chose Option D because A would provide the public with librarians with which to: 1. develop the collections in each branch library, keeping in mind the desires of the public for both adults and children, 2. offer continued adult and children’s programs (especially children’s) which is a huge part of our mission and is the heart of a fine library system, 3. be prepared to offer homework and research help to the public. These are just three of the highlights a library offers when it has qualified, talented librarians on board. Were we to scale back the librarians I can assure you that fewer of the needs of the community would be met. Option D results in laying off 3.6 librarian positions including both children’s librarian. Option A keeps all librarians save one at a reduced level.
The call of the library is to ensure lifelong learning and self-directed education beginning with the very youngest of our community members. Due to economic difficulties at this time I do understand how important it is to make cutbacks that result in the library staying within budget and I will work to that end. Both scenarios show the library department with a budget surplus at the end of 5 years.”
Finally, she commented on the 480% increase in nonsolicited donations in December.
“And about the nonsolicited donations: We budgeted only $4,875 for f/y 09/10 based on past years. The outpouring of 20K in early donations is, I believe, because library users recognize the value they place on their library, its services and programs.”
Keep your eye on this county webpage for the appearance of the agenda for the meeting on February 23rd. It usually gets posted a few days before the meeting.