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
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