Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Westchester's Incredible Shrinking Libraries Do More With Less

As library funding continues to come under pressure from ever-tightening governmental budgets, the quality and level of service is bound to suffer. Librarians are super managers, but they're not magicians.

According to the annual NY State report released September 30, 2011, here's what happened to Westchester County's 38 public libraries from 2005 to 2010:

Total circulation went up 12%, but total materials purchased declined 10%. Annual materials expense dropped 13%.

The average minimum weekly total hours open went down from 50.1 to 48.6 even though the number of library visits increased 4% to 7.8 million.

Paid staff (FTE basis) went from 800 to 728, a decrease of 10% and the number of reference transactions declined 12% (it takes people to answer questions!)

Continued chopping of library budgets will further impact the level of service provided to the more than 500,000 people who hold Westchester County library cards and the countless thousands more who use our public libraries without one. Let's hope the municipalities and other entities now contemplating library budgets for next year realize the full impact of what they are doing.

Dave Donelson distills the experiences of hundreds of entrepreneurs into practical advice for small business owners and managers in the Dynamic Manager's Guides, a series of how-to books about marketing and advertising, sales techniques, motivating personnel, financial management, and business strategy.

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