Wednesday, March 25, 2009

State of the State Library (Louisiana)

Rebecca Hamilton started in spite of some time spent trying to overcome technical difficulties.

The State Library budget is $12.6 million, $20,000 self generated, $2.9 million in federal funding. The largest expense is personnel. Next largest is “inter-agency transfers” which includes all of the building expenses. Other library operation expenses include printing and postage. Another large category is the book festival at $250,000; Inter-Library Loan costs $210,000; databases are about $1 million,( Rebecca regularly reminds legislators that if libraries were billed individually for the same databases, the total cost would be $10 million). Other items are filtering software, and an automated system for the Library for the Blind and Physical Handicapped. State aid is $3 million. If Louisiana gave publid libraries the national average (per capita) then state aid would be $7.5 million. Books and materials for the State Library is budgeted at about $360,000.

In January there were mid-year budget cuts. The state went from expecting a surplus to having a deficit. Agencies gave back about 7%. Cuts included not filling seven vacant positions, and reductions in items which had not been spent, or could be delivered in other ways such as using email instead of mailing items including the newsletter Communique.

For the next budget year, the budget will most likely be reduced further. The Library was asked for an additional 33%. It was tough because the State Library restructured significantly after “the storms” (Katrina and Rita). The Library figured out, at that time, a new way to do business. Some positions were eliminated, and departments were combined. Job descriptions were re-written and positions were re-classified. The new governor believes in transparency, streamlined government, but the new governor does not know that the Library has already done that. New budget from the Governor was presented yesterday.

Yesterday the Commissioner’s office asked for the seven positions to be permanently eliminated. That was not acceptable. Library leadership is going back to look at the organization chart to see what can be done. The Lieutenant Governor is willing to help in the fight to save the positions.

Rebecca’s view is that people have different views about what is the best for the state. Of course, Rebecca believes that her position is right, and she will fight as strong as she can for the positions.

State Library will continue to communicate to librarians in the field

What are the benefits that the State Library delivers to libraries? They are

Databases $1,109,674

ILL $210,000

Delivery services $220,000

Internet $500,000

State Aid $3,000,000

Library for the Blind and

Physically Handicapped $857,750

Workshops & Children’s

services $120,000

TOTAL = $6,017,424

Federal funding from IMLS is used to support the statewide initiatives. The state dollars are tied to the federal funding. Therefore, reducing state funding has a large impact because of the loss of federal dollars.

At the worst, right after Hurricane Katrina, 121 of the 339 public libraries in the state were closed. Now 321 of 338 library buildings are open, thanks to the support of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Solinet, plus $70,000 in individual contributions. There was an additional $2.4 million from the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund. Altogether over $9 million was donated.

From storms, and after 48 days on the job, it is critical to have a plan. But there was no plan for loss of power at the State Library.

Created a plan, and learned with Gustav and Ike that the plan worked. The State Library started to implement the plan 4 days before landfall. They had gathered contact info, not just the library director, but other key staff and even parish staff who are involved with buildings and building maintenance. So after Gustav, opened the State Library with a generator and a fan to provide Internet access.

The State Library back up server used to be in Vermillion, and it now has been moved to Monroe (away from the coast). Core services were backed up. Data was stored in multiple, secure locations.

Some of the successful services and programs that the State Library provides were listed next.

The summer reading program had 83,000 participants. All statistics are now rising. Louisiana has joined the national programming cooperative. The children’s theme is Be Creative; for the teen program it is Express yourself; and there is even an adult program with the theme Master the Art of Reading.The Book Festival has grown from 5,000 to 21,000. The Louisiana Gumbo project is complete with 23,000 photos 1,600 WPA documents and many art works. Anew ILL system has been implemented and all library systems have been trained. The first state-wide library staff day was help in January with almost 150 attendees. An IMLS grant for providing leadership training to the next generation of Louisiana library leadership has been submitted. Fighting the Fires of Hate: America a the Nazi Book Burnings, a national exhibit will be hosted. Libraries received early literacy workstations, and the State Library has received a national Leadership Training Grant.

By a stroke of luck, Louisiana will be participating as a pilot site in the ALA-APA Library Support Staff Certification Program. This is a national program funded by IMLS and ALA which will help standardize expectations for support staff and master job competencies.

Louisiana will be providing content for one of the competencies. The pilot will run March-November 2009, and the full program will launch January 2, 2010.

The PowerPoint presentation (with pie charts and graphs) is on this page under presentations or directly linked here.

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