By Mary Getchell, Communications Director, Pierce County Library System
At its December meeting the Pierce County Library System’s Board of Trustees will hold its second and final hearing on the Library’s 2011 budget, learn about successes from the 2010 Summer Reading program, get an update on the Job and Business Centers, and discuss 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, Dec. 8, from 3:30 to 6 p.m. Three of the issues the board will focus on include the following.
- 2011 Budget: The Board will conduct its second and final public hearing, to gather comments on the Library’s proposed 2011 operating budget of $28.6 million and $3.9 million capital improvement budget. Priorities in the 2011 budget include maintaining promises from a levy voters approved in 2006, making decisions in the best long-term interest of tax payers, providing up-to-date services, and building the Library’s customer base. Approximately 97 percent of the Library’s budget comes from taxes on property. 2011 marks the second year that the economic downturn is showing a major impact on the Library’s budget, with assessed property values down an average 9.66 percent throughout the Library’s service area. During the next five years the Library projects further declines in property values or flat property values.
- Summer Reading Results: Kids throughout Pierce County read a lot this summer: a whopping 73,167 hours, which is a 6 percent increase over the time children read last summer. They also stepped up the number of items they checked out of the Library, showing a 26 percent increase by checking out 624,246 books and other youth reading materials. Summer Reading continues to be an essential fundamental for a child’s success as they return to school each fall and as a skill for lifelong reading and learning.
- Job and Business Centers: Staff will give an update on how the Library’s Job and Business Centers are helping residents boost their computer skills and get jobs. The stories are heart-warming and very real examples of staff teaching new skills, showing people how to write winning resumes, and giving people tips on how to get jobs. Examples range from two local union plumbers who took required safety training on the Library’s computers who said: “We would have never got this job without the services we got at the library or the aid we received from the staff” to a woman who used a Job and Business Center computer daily to apply for jobs who recently came to the library not to use a computer, but to thank staff for the center in helping her land a job! In February, six Pierce County Libraries will offer the centers which are one-stop spaces with computers, work spaces, books and resources, trained staff, and classes to help people find and get jobs and start and keep small businesses.
Pierce County Library System’s 17 libraries, three bookmobiles and online services bring people together and provide children and adults with opportunities to learn and enrich their lives.