At Bloomington Public Library, we provide value to the community every day.
In fiscal year 2017,
The Library's Mission:
Library Budget in Brief FY2019: 05/01/2018-04/30/2019
To provide our diverse community with a helpful and welcoming place that offers equal access to the world of ideas and information and supports lifelong learning.
The Budget Process:
Per the Illinois State Law, the Bloomington Public Library has a nine-member governing board appointed by the Mayor and Council. The law specifies that library taxes are to be "levied by the corporate authorities in the amounts determined by the board and collected in like manner with other general taxes of the city, village, incorporated town or township and the proceeds shall be deposited in a special fund, which shall be known as the library fund" and "expenditures from the library fund shall be under the direction of the board of library trustees." In order to allow the Council to make an informed decision when approving the library tax levy, the Bloomington Public Library develops and adopts the relevant budget in advance. (See Appendix A – FY19 Budget.)
The Library has three funds: a Maintenance and Operating Fund, a Fixed Asset Fund, and a Capital Reserve Fund.
The Maintenance and Operating Fund is used to cover our payroll and material purchases until we receive our tax revenue from McLean County. Financial experts suggest that we keep 25 percent, or three months of the annual budget, in this fund. This fund would also be used to cover unanticipated building or other expenses. The unaudited balance as of the end of FY17 was $2,066,426.70.
The Fixed Asset Fund is restricted for fixed asset items such as replacement of computers, the Bookmobile, shelving and furniture. The unaudited balance as of the end of FY17 was $928,888.68.
The Capital Reserve Fund is our "savings account" for the future to pay for much needed expansion of access to the services the Library provides to the community and/or major repairs to our existing building. The unaudited balance as of the end of FY17 was $2,420,569.85.
Year after year, the Library staff and the Library Board have continued to run an efficient budget by looking for ways to reduce expenses and to do more with less. The Board established a Capital Reserve fund in 2010 and since then has adopted a policy to annually transfer 50% of any unspent revenues to the capital reserve fund in preparation for necessary repairs, maintenance, or improvements. The Capital Reserve transfer amounts totaled: $203,205.50 for FY13, $76,119.11 for FY14, $158,264.53 for FY15, and $120,011.47 for FY16. While the Library Board and Staff have been dedicated to this lean approach, it is no longer possible to simply rely on frugal habits, it is time to commit to investing in the future.
Just as it is imperative to prepare for the future by saving for future repairs, replacements, and upgrades as a homeowner, it is imperative for the Library to plan and save for the future. If a commitment is made to move forward with an expansion project, the funds that we would invest in our capital fund would increase our project "down payment." The first project costs realized would be architectural fees to develop schematic designs. If a commitment is not made to move forward with an expansion project, the Library still would need to fund repairs and replacements in our existing building. The necessary repairs and replacements over the next 5 years include replacing the roof, return air ducts, air handler, carpet, broken/worn furniture, garage driveway, parking lot curb, retaining wall, and lighting. The necessary repairs and replacements would total at least $2,000,000.
As you see in the FY19 Budget adopted by the Library Board (appendix A), the budget reflects cost saving measures in all budget areas, allowing for a flat budget. The budget increase is entirely reflected in the $140,493 transfer to the Capital Fund.
In FY18, the Library was less than 3% of a City of Bloomington taxpayers' bill and four taxing bodies collected larger percentages of the tax bill than the Library:
"There's empirical evidence that usage tracks investment. If libraries receive more public funds, more people use them. And if governments invest less in its libraries (as they have since 2009), fewer people visit—though the drop-in visits from disinvestment isn't as strong as the rise from investment would be."1
1 Meyer, Robinson. "Fewer Americans Are Visiting Local Libraries-and Technology Isn't to Blame." The Atlantic, 14 Apr. 2016, www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2016/04/americans-like-their-libraries-but- they-use-them-less-and-less-pew/477336/.
"Libraries will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no libraries." - Anne Herbert, The Next Whole Earth Catalog