Chesterton Tribune

WPL 2013 budget cut not expected to hurt services

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Westchester Public Library trustees made a voluntary $165,286 cut in the proposed 2013 budget before approving it Thursday for publication.

It was done on the advice of a state tax official to keep the library’s maximum levy increase no more than the 2.8 percent allowed next year.

The reduction would cut the operating fund to $2,946,073; reduce the year-end transfer to $215,503 in the non-reverting Library Improvement Reserve Fund; and leave an estimated $100,000 operating balance going into 2013.

According to library director Phil Baugher, “I have built a lot of flexibility into the budget so I don’t think the reduction will cause us any problems.” He said the budget leaves enough money to give WPL staff 2 percent pay raises and make facilities improvements including a new phone system and remodel the Hageman Library restrooms.

After final adoption by the Library Board Sept. 13, the Porter County Council must conduct a non-binding review of the WPL budget, tentatively slated for Sept. 18. WPL currently has $7.5 million in all funds.

In other business, remodeling the upstairs Thomas Library restrooms is awaiting final delivery of materials before actual construction begins.

Baugher said he purchased a small sign being put in the front of Thomas to announce special events of the day. Discreet electronic message boards also will be put in library departments to promote their activities. Board members again engaged in a discussion how to better advertise WPL’s offerings to the public, like a new interface to the library catalog for smart phones called MobilePac.

Surplus computer equipment is being sold Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. by Friends of the Library. Proceeds will be donated back to WPL. A list of items to be sold is available.

Baugher announced WPL’s website home page has a link to a survey the library created to solicit opinions from the public about the 88 books the U.S. Library of Congress chose as Books that Shaped America. People taking the survey will be eligible to enter a drawing for paperback copies of some of the listed books.

WPL is planning a display to coincide with Banned Books Week Sept. 30 to Oct. 6. Some of the books banned in schools and libraries across the country will be shown as WPL celebrates Freedom to Read.

Approved was the hiring of Rose Halpin as the new head of Technical Services and Jeff Bohannon as a part-time clerk. The position of clerk to mainly serve in the Children’s Department is open although clerks are cross-trained in other departments.

Like many libraries in the state, WPL has seen declining circulation. Baugher said there may have been deficiencies in WPL’s statistical reporting that are being investigated, but that alone is not the total reason for the drop.



Posted 8/10/2012