By Mary Getchell, Communications Director
At its December meeting the Pierce County Library System’s Board of Trustees adopted the Library’s 2011 operating budget of $28.6 million and $3.9 million capital improvement budget.
Approximately 97 percent of the Library’s budget comes from taxes on property. 2011 marks the second year that the economic downturn is showing an impact on the Library’s budget, with assessed property values down throughout the Library’s service area. Also, consistent with recent years, the Library continues to project that its revenue will be lower than the costs to run the Library System.
“I commend our staff for their work to ensure we continue to meet commitments to voters and taxpayers,” said Neel Parikh, executive director for Pierce County Library. “In this economic downturn, our managers are performing sound fiscal management and being good stewards of taxpayers’ dollars. We designed our 2011 budget in the best long-term interest of taxpayers.”
In 2011 the Library will provide communities with up-to-date services, which will include:
- Downloadable audio and e-books. In 2010 the Library added many more downloadable audiobook and e-book offerings. Customers doubled the number of audio and e-book downloads: 2009 customers checked out 54,830 items, and in 2010 customers checked out 105,336. In 2011, the Library will invest further in downloadable books and for the first time offer downloadable music.
- New access to DVDs. In some of the 17 libraries, adults and children will automatically check out DVDs through the Library’s equivalent of DVD “Red Box” machines.
Also, this year, the Library will continue to maintain promises from a re-authorized levy that voters passed in 2006. The promises include expanding access to staff, resources, materials, and facilities by increasing open hours; adding a wide variety of books and materials; increasing services for children and teens; and upgrading services and technology for customers.
Highlights in the 2011 capital budget include moving the Milton/Edgewood Pierce County Library to a an expanded, more-centrally located place in Surprise Lake Square in Milton (opened Jan. 13); opening the University Place Pierce County Library in the Civic and Library Building (opening Feb. 12); and for the first time offering a Library in Fife.