At its September meeting the Pierce County Library System’s Board of Trustees will discuss a 2010 budget shortfall; stopping notifications by mail; meeting community needs with library services and buildings, known as Pierce County Library 2030; and other issues. The Board of Trustees will meet at the Pierce County Library System’s Processing and Administrative Center, 3005 112th St. E., in Tacoma on Wednesday, Sept. 9, from 3:30 to 6 p.m.
Three of the primary issues the board will address include the following.
2010 budget shortfall–The Board will review the Library’s estimated shortfall of $829,000-$958,000 for the 2010 budget, with higher shortfalls expected for 2011 and 2012. The Library is evaluating budget reductions for 2010, while it is committed to providing up-to-date and future-oriented services; preserving promises from the re-authorized levy voters passed in 2006; and developing and supporting technology. To reduce the Library’s overall operating budget, the Library plans to cut $1 million a year for each of the next three years.
Stopping notifications by mail: to provide improved and more efficient customer service, offer up-to-date services, be environmentally responsible, and use tax payers’ dollars wisely the Library will notify customers via e-mail, phone, or text messaging. Starting Jan. 1, 2010, U.S. Mail will only be offered as a last resort. Currently only 8.6% (19,890 card holders) of Pierce County Library’s customers have requested mail as their preferred notification method to tell them that books or other materials they placed on hold are available or when items they checked out are overdue. In 2008 the Library sent 85,400 postcard notifications for a cost of $28,000. The Library hopes this move to phone, e-mail or text notification will eliminate that cost.
Meeting community needs with library services and buildings–Pierce County Library 2030: The Board will review draft guiding principles for the facilities master plan, Pierce County Library 2030. The principles capture the key concepts the Library learned from the public and community leaders while conducting extensive public involvement earlier this year. The Library is building a collaborative plan to reflect community needs for future library services and buildings. The guiding principles are intended to be the foundation for developing the facilities master plan and focuses on people first, engaging communities, taking library services to where people are, collaborating with communities, moving with the times with flexible spaces and updated services, and operating efficiently.
Pierce County Library is the fourth largest library system in the state, serving 546,000 people, with 17 branches, three bookmobiles and online services. In 2008, people made 2.3 million visits to Pierce County Libraries.