Ferndale Library Cuts Two Positions, Closes on Fridays Due to Funding

Ferndale Library Cuts Two Positions, Closes on Fridays Due to FundingPrideProm Library Friends Ad

(FPL Press Release, May 19, 2014)

Ending the year with an $85,000 deficit and facing a similar one in the coming fiscal year, which begins on July 1, the library has been forced to significantly reduce expenditures. With a unanimous vote on Thursday, May 15, the library board of trustees adopted a revised budget for FYE 2015, as proposed by waterworkDirector Jessica Keyser. These cuts will reduce the projected deficit by about 50%. A proposed budget for FYE 2016 was also adopted by the board on Thursday and is designed to balance the library’s budget by June 30, 2016.

Beginning in July, the library will lose two members of the staff: one full-time from the reference department, and one part-time from circulation. Fewer staff means closing the library on Fridays, making it open to the public five (5) days, rather than the current six (6). Hours on Saturday will be reduced as well. Altogether, open hours each week will total 45, a 20% reduction. Having substantially reduced the materials budget last year, only a small cut will be made this time around. Being closed an additional day will result in related reductions in such things as utility and janitorial expenses.

Libraries are especially vulnerable to serious downturns in the economy. Nearly 90% of the Ferndale Public Library financing comes from millage revenues, which are directly tied to property values in the city. Libraries and municipalities will not recover from the recession for many years due to the Headlee Amendment to the Michigan Constitution, which was passed in 1978, and Proposal A of dinos02sidelogo31994, which means they cannot collect as much money as they did before the recession, even as property values increase. It is due to these factors that the library has had to rely on its reserve fund to balance the budget in recent years. Library Director Jessica Keyser says, “We are in this position due to a longstanding trend of disinvestment in our public resources at the state level. We are seeing libraries, schools, and cities across the state being forced to make these difficult decisions.”

“Making cuts like this is always a last resort for a board and director. Unfortunately, it’s a situation that is facing other public and private institutions everywhere,” said Board President Patrick Dengate. “To seed027_essential_massagecontinue to draw from the fund balance at the same levels every year would lead us to a very precarious financial position in short order. Such a strategy is unsustainable, and would be irresponsible. We’re looking ahead and thinking in terms of the long run. But we are all well aware that decisions like this aren’t just about numbers on a page and money in the bank—they affect real people—staff and patrons.”

Library Director Jessica Keyser said, “We analyzed a lot of data, including library traffic patterns and circulation statistics to determine what hours to cut to try to minimize the impact on the Ferndale community. Unfortunately, these cuts will affect the community, no matter what we do. We have been busier than ever, helping more people than ever. The library is an absolutely vital resource in our community, and we are heartbroken to have to make these painful cuts.”pride2014ad

A major fundraising campaign, aimed primarily at businesses within the city, has been in the planning stages for the past few months, and will begin this week. Allied Printing, a long-time business in the city, has donated the printing costs of a portfolio, which will be used as part of the campaign. It is hoped that increasing charitable donations will provide the library with greater long-term financial sustainability and the ability to restore staffing and service levels.

For more information on Ferndale Public Library visit http://www.ferndale.lib.mi.us/.

The Friends of the Ferndale Library is an organization that raises money to support the Library.  Learn more about them and donate online at http://ferndalefriends.org/.

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