Library fighting to weather loss of $100K in funds
Visitors to the Mt. Lebanon Library have increased. Circulation has increased.
The only thing that’s going down is the funding.
The library, like many in the state, is getting its state funding slashed — cut from around $144,000 this year to about $72,000 next year. It’s also seeing its county regional asset funding cut from around $316,000 to about $291,000 next year.
“We’re going to lose around $100,000,” library Director Cynthia Richey said.
Tonight, library officials are going before township commissioners to make sure they don’t reduce library funding.
“We have no indication from the municipality, but we hope they’ll give us as much money as they gave us last year,” said Bill Lewis, treasurer of the library board.
The library is already looking at cutting services because of the decrease in state and county funding, including cutting back on periodical and book purchases and closing on Sundays.
Currently, the library is open from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sundays from September to May. Lewis said that each Sunday costs $2,000 because workers are paid time and a half.
Richey said that the library is funded through the end of the year, and will remain open on Sundays. But next year’s budget is still being determined, along with the municipality’s budget.
“We’re still sorting it out,” said municipal Manager Steve Feller, who will send his recommended budget to commissioners on Nov. 1.
This year’s budget for the library is $1.4 million, and a little more than half of that comes from the municipality. Lewis noted that the library didn’t ask for an increase in funding this year to make up the shortfall.
Richey said the library’s collection could suffer from lack of funding, and suggested that they’d have to solicit donations or patrons to adopt a subscription, a book or an author to keep the collection up to date.
“This is a serious problem for us,” she said. “You can’t make up gaps later.”
The library, like many others in Allegheny County, also recently increased fines, up to a quarter for each day an adult book is overdue. The daily fine for children’s books is still 5 cents, and the fine for videocassettes and DVDs remains 50 cents.
Richey said that wasn’t so much due to financial problems, but because there hadn’t been a fee increase for a while.
Commissioners will meet at 7 p.m. Monday at the Medical Rescue Team South building on Cypress Way.