Thursday, March 11, 2010

State of the State Library

State Librarian Rebbecca Hamilton began her presentation with an overview of where the State Library is, mid-year budget cuts, and where the library is going.

The state is facing $1 billion deficit this year. Every state agency is taking a cut. For the state library, the mid-year cut is very minor $107,000. Not bad for the Library because the Library spends a lot of money on the front end.

The presentation which will be on the web site, has many graphs. Over the past few years the State Library has lost seven positions as well as funds from database budget. In 2005, the Library restructured after the storms. One of the arguments that the State Library makes on behalf of the Library is that the SLOL has already streamlined, back in 2005.

As a point of reference, the State Library pays a total of database costs of $650,000 for access for all of the libraries in the state, if libraries had to buy, it would cost libraries in the aggregate $8.5 million.

Without state-wide initiatives, almost 2/3 of the budget is personnel. Next largest is Inter-agency transfers for building and grounds costs.

Almost $4 million is spent in providing direct services to public libraries. All cuts to date have been taken on the operational side. Cuts in the future are likely to be made from the direct services to public libraries. These include: databases, ILL, delivery services, Internet, direct state library aid, services to the blind and physically handicapped, and workshops. Lots of discussion at the highest levels about cutting direct aid.

Rebbecca expects the cut to be about 3.8% of the budget which will affect the federal maintenance of effort funding. A cut of $364,000 in state funds would result in a loss of $100,000 in federal funds. For federal funding, the library also needs a 5-year strategic plan which requires a matching funds where the total budget for any federally funded project has 66% federal dollars and 34% state dollars.

The Louisiana Book Festival has been incredibly successful. It is ranked the second best festival to attend for authors. It has been a good tourism/economic development driver. The Festival has also provided more programs including a huge increase in the number of Letters about Literature.

SBPH has sent new digital players to over 1,200 users. Expect to add 2,000 titles this year. Concern is that this program affects only 7,000 people, but it is the only program in the state.

Other current programs include a very important and successful Leadership Grant from IMLS, Statwide staff days (that were so successful that this year it was done in two separate locations), public libraries have site visits by SLOL IT staff. The State Library of Louisiana was the first organization in the country which had a course approved for the ALA-APA Library Support Staff Certification Program. Twenty staff completed the class, a first in the nation.

What is next? SLOL successfully applied and has been notified that it received an $8.8 million BTOP grant. It is a 3-year grant. Had started with a cooperative app with other agencies which would have served just the Delta. Pulled out to do a grant for the whole state. It was ranked #1 by the Governor's office of all grants from Louisiana. Staff deserves great credit for the success.

SLOL is applying for Round 2 with a larger grant, the deadline is Monday, March 15.

Summer Reading Program has been a huge success.

The State Library is moving to a new software for web training sessions. The SLOL is working with the library school at LSU to have a web site for every library in the state. Recently the bandwidth for the State Library has been upgraded.

A question was asked about not the upcoming legislative session, but the one after, and Rebecca is concerned, but does not know what will happen. She worries about what will happen. Do the people that matter understand what it is that libraries (public and the State Library) do in providing service to the public.

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