Chesterton Tribune



Library 2014 budget supports online use; Hageman restroom redo starts July 13

Back To Front Page


Westchester Public Library director Phil Baugher is proposing a 200 percent increase in next year’s budget for online services.

Baugher outlined a draft 2014 total budget of $3,051,200 to Library Board members Thursday. Final action is required later this summer. This year’s budget is $2,947,903.

The online services fund would jump from $10,000 to $30,000 as a result of the new internet subscriptions for music, language instruction, magazines and newspapers available to patrons. They responded in May with a nearly seven-fold increase in wireless internet users and a 143 percent jump in online content use.

An additional $45,000 is earmarked for downloadable audio and E-books next year.

The 2014 impact of implementation of the federal Affordable Care Act on WPL’s employee health-insurance premium is unknown, explained Baugher, but that line item has been increased by $50,000 to $325,000 next year.

The director proposed a 2 percent pay raise for employees but none for himself, saying his annual $89,729 salary is fair compensation.

Most budget categories saw only modest increases, if any. The line items for books would remain at $260,000.

A plan of service and a revised budget draft will be presented at the July 11 board meeting. In its current form the budget proposes no radical changes in library facilities, basic library services, staffing or other library operations, according to Baugher.

Current finances remain strong with $6.9 million in all funds, $6.6 million of that invested; the spring property tax draw is about to be distributed, at which time a $64,506 shortfall in the operating fund will be erased.

Among the claims approved last night was a $15,000 annual payment from WPL’s Leslie Pratt Trust to Duneland School Corp. for a year’s rental of its Brown Mansion where the libary’s Westchester Township History Museum is located. The payment includes utilities and internet service.

New Hageman restrooms

It was announced the restroom remodeling at Hageman Library in Porter is scheduled to begin July 13 and will take an estimated 10 days. A handicapped-accessible porta-potty will be located near the building for patron convenience.

Baugher said he’s researching the possibility of acquiring a community information module that would allow development of a database of area community and non-profit groups as well as the services each provides. The module could be integrated with the WPL calendar.

This summer WPL will have a Get Caught Reading program where staff will snap photos of patrons reading, with their permission, and encourage them to submit pictures of other people reading.

WPL circulation last month and year-to-date show slight increases, it was reported, more so at Hageman.

So far this year a total 154,015 items have been circulated. “We’re seeing a lot of people in the library,” said Baugher. Public service units --- individual occasions of service to patrons --- is up just over 19 percent.

Patron info secured

The board unanimously adopted a revised policy making clear that WPL circulation and records shall not be made available to any individual, group or agency of government except pursuant to a valid local, state or federal process, order or subpoena.

As an example, Baugher said a patron’s home address, email and what they’ve borrowed at WPL can’t be shared for political or advertising purposes.

The policy explains that circulation records of the library are for the sole purposes of protecting library property and compiling statistical information about library use; such records shall not be used, either directly or indirectly, to identify types of materials used by individual patrons or to determine the purpose for which a patron requests library information and materials.

Also Thursday the board, with members Mike Livovich and Drew Rhed absent, inched toward a final investment strategy after months of discussion.

Agreed was that WPL investments shall be structured to allow maximum protection under the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. program. Indiana has its own depository insurance fund to cover investors, but Baugher said, “The goals of our policy --- No. 1 is protection.”

Library attorney Terry Hiestand will do additional research and report next month. The board is mulling various approaches to maximize return yet minimize risk.


Posted 6/14/2013