Letter from the Director: 2010 Budget and Funding

Pat PartoviNovember, 2009

Dear Library Supporters,Many of you have asked about the status of the library’s 2010 budget so I’d like to give you a progress report. The city’s budget deficit amounted to 4.07% less than the proposed departmental budgets so each department, including the library, was asked to cut that percentage. Employees were asked to help meet that target by making wage and benefits concessions. We at the library have been very conservative with our spending this year in anticipation of these difficult times. The Library Board, library staff and library administration are all proud of the stewardship we have shown by negotiating reasonable labor contracts and finding efficiencies. Library staff that are in the local 270 union have a contract with raises tied to the consumer price index (CPI) so they will be getting a 1% cost of living raise in 2010. Additionally, management and professional staff within the library have foregone any raises until 2011. We felt this was the right thing to do in this economic climate in order to preserve services to our public. However, at the time of this writing it is still prior to election day and the council has not approved the budget yet. There are a number of items on the November ballot that could negatively affect the library’s budget but it is still too early to speculate how much so and specifically what that means.

Many years of economic challenges faced by the city resulted in minimum open hours for three neighborhood library branches, and reduced hours Downtown. Yet, we have been able to continue providing excellent service by applying for, and receiving more grants than ever before. Grant funding has provided new public access computers, children’s and adult programs to promote literacy, and use of the computer lab as an extension site for WorkSource. Grant applications have been submitted to provide more bandwidth for customer Internet access and ongoing technology training for the public.

Two library support organizations, the Spokane Public Library Foundation and the Friends of the Spokane Public Library and work tirelessly to raise money for an endowment and to fund services such as the Summer Reading program that cannot be included in the general operating budget. With the money we have received from grants, donations, the Friends and the Foundation we have supplemented our budget with over $247,000 in the last three years (2007, 2008 and 2009 ytd)!

As soon as we have final information about our budget I will be sure to let you know if there are any changes to service. We truly appreciate the support and patronage of our customers and I can assure you that we are mindful of our obligation to provide the best service in the most cost effective manner. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions – director@spokanelibrary.org or 444-5300. Thank you.

Pat Partovi, Library Director