Library Budget

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Re: Library Budget

Postby Jeannine Stergios » Sat Jan 22, 2011 1:39 am

nis

You misunderstand my comments which is why you think I am picking a fight. I don't know how many times I can try to explain this to you.

I support libraries but I don't support wasting taxpayer money simply to provide jobs." Keeping in mind earlier discussion about dynasties, too many degrees, too many library employees etc., I think my conclusion that you think providing jobs for librarians is a waste of money is understandable. If I misunderstood you, I apologize.


We cannot throw money at a library to keep people employed. That isn't the purpose of the library. A government isn't an employment agency. We should only have the people needed to do the job - nothing more. I feel we might have too many employees at the library. That doesn't mean that none of them should have jobs.
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Re: Library Budget

Postby Pat McGrath » Sat Jan 22, 2011 10:59 am

What does not come across in any budget spreadsheet is the volume of visitors and the amount of material checked out, checked back in and then re-shelved. Your library services 145,000 visitors and process 291,000 items. Twenty of the 29 employees are part time --some making $7.81 per hour and working as little as 4 hours a week. The library is open 60 hours a week, so it takes careful balancing of the staff to match to the patron's needs. But at no time do we have 29 people all working at the same time. Typically it is more like 7-8 --and one of those people is the maintenance person who works 40 hours.

NS: take some time to look back on many posts that Jeannine has put forward. She has some kids who are very bright and one who is working towards a doctorate. As anyone who understands the time and knowledge that such a degree means, also knows that there is a library---- and maybe many libraries ---- that help that person become a doctor in an academic discipline. So intrinsically I think Jeannine holds academic achievement and what it takes to get there in very high regard. What she may not fully appreciate is the operational aspect of the library, the many services it offers from pre-schoolers and home schoolers to very spry and engaging senior citizens. Many people don't until they have that library experience that you and many others have had.

Jeannine: Join NS and myself for a tour of your library. Meet the people who work there and ask them questions. Experience what your library has to offer to you and all of the residents of Merrimack. So make a call to Janet Angus, Library Director --424-5021 and she can help coordinate this tour for all of us.

Stay warm and safe in the days and night s ahead everyone!!

Pat
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Re: Library Budget

Postby Jeannine Stergios » Sat Jan 22, 2011 2:57 pm

Pat

Twenty of the 29 employees are part time --some making $7.81 per hour and working as little as 4 hours a week. The library is open 60 hours a week, so it takes careful balancing of the staff to match to the patron's needs


Here is my main concern. You may not realize although they are working only 4 hours a week, the town has to pay 6.75% toward Social Security, 1.3% toward Medicare and a certain amount in Federal Unemployment Tax and State Unemployment Taxes on EACH person who receives a paycheck. I think the library needs to eliminate these types of employees and consolidate the hours. I hope you understand what I mean.

Another concern is the library appears to have become a taxpayer funded pre-kindergarten based on the events that are going on each week. With the exception of the speaker who lives at the Mt Washington Observatory how many of these events would attract the majority of people in town?

Thanks for the invite to the library and for understanding how much I do value education and libraries. Some of my fondest childhood memories are the Saturday mornings spent there with my Dad checking my Bobsey Twins and Nancy Drew books for the week. Unfortunately, I'm not in the best of health at this time and have trouble even going to my office these days.
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Re: Library Budget

Postby Pat McGrath » Wed Jan 26, 2011 11:13 am

Jeannine: I have a serious grasp on the tax implications as it pertains to payroll as I am also a business owner like yourself. So to meet the budget cuts, the 2011-12 fiscal year budget will have a lower employer impact –and thus a lower tax payer impact because the payroll will be lower.

I think you will find that all the libraries in the area have a pre-school library program. Sure, the focus is on the kids, but the parents are there. This isn’t a babysitting or day care program we are running!! I want to think that the success in academics that your kids and my kids have had, was due in part to their reading before they entered school. I know my wife spent a lot of time both in New Jersey and here in Merrimack taking the kids to the library. I imagine that you did likewise –taking your kids to libraries.

Sorry to hear that your health is so seriously affected that it limits your ventures from home. I hope you know that you can utilize many of the library services right from the comfort of your home and using your computer. I use the on line services many time a day in my business and have so much enjoyed downloading audio books and some e-books as well.

But if it is a matter that you want to hold a book in hand to bring you some reading pleasure, reserve the book on line and I will figure a way to get the books to you and picked up if I have to do it myself.
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Re: Library Budget

Postby Jeannine Stergios » Wed Jan 26, 2011 12:59 pm

Pat

That is a very nice gesture on your part. I wasn't aware I could do this from home. I will definitely look into it. As far as my children and libraries. My oldest son (the one studying for his doctorate currenttly working on his dissertation) and daughter went to the library at least once a week when they were young. The younger boys rarely went to the library because I worked full time but I used to buy them books at books sales or at WalMart. However, they were all read a story before bedtime almost every night until they were reading on their own. You are correct that in order for your children to value education, the parents must place a value on it as well. My kids were told that college is not an option - it's mandatory in order to be successful. Without a skill you will live hand to mouth your entire life.
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Re: Library Budget

Postby nis » Wed Jan 26, 2011 8:15 pm

This boy put his library into good use ;) http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/video/tween-t ... y-12626139
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Re: Library Budget

Postby Pat McGrath » Fri Jan 28, 2011 3:29 pm

In the year 1854 –almost 100 years before I was born, a 7 year old boy was told by his minister / teacher in a one room school house that he was addled –a term used in those days to say that someone couldn't learn. His mother brought him back the next day and the same minister/ teacher said the same thing to her-- your son is addled and to take him home.

So the mother took him home ---- and then took him to the public library where he proceeded to read every single book in the place. By age 12, he was done reading what there was to be read and began his own little business. As the years went by he created new things and with it, more new businesses. In one of his laboratories, he had a a private place built. Inside was a desk and chair. Over in the corner was a small bed, and all above for maybe 60 feet in the air, were thousands of books, neatly arranged and accessible by a ladder mounted on tracks. He never lost his love for books and learning.

So you are probably wondering, who is this guy? It sounds like someone out the pages of a Horatio Alger novel. Actually, he was even more successful than a fictional character. He invented over a 1,000 items and products and the world knows and respects him as:

Thomas Alva Edison –the addled boy who learned what he needed to get started by using his public library.
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Re: Library Budget

Postby Dennis King » Fri Jan 28, 2011 4:45 pm

Pat McGrath wrote:In the year 1854 –almost 100 years before I was born, a 7 year old boy was told by his minister / teacher in a one room school house that he was addled –a term used in those days to say that someone couldn't learn. His mother brought him back the next day and the same minister/ teacher said the same thing to her-- your son is addled and to take him home.

So the mother took him home ---- and then took him to the public library where he proceeded to read every single book in the place. By age 12, he was done reading what there was to be read and began his own little business. As the years went by he created new things and with it, more new businesses. In one of his laboratories, he had a a private place built. Inside was a desk and chair. Over in the corner was a small bed, and all above for maybe 60 feet in the air, were thousands of books, neatly arranged and accessible by a ladder mounted on tracks. He never lost his love for books and learning.

So you are probably wondering, who is this guy? It sounds like someone out the pages of a Horatio Alger novel. Actually, he was even more successful than a fictional character. He invented over a 1,000 items and products and the world knows and respects him as:

Thomas Alva Edison –the addled boy who learned what he needed to get started by using his public library.


I have to wonder where you get this info Pat. Here are some known facts:

Ben Franklin was credited with the first library in America. He called it the Junto and it was a place where learned men could meet to discuss the topics of the day and the books they all donated were their reference materials. That expanded to "Social Libraries" which charged a small fee to be a member and then anyone who was a member could take out the books. Public libraries as we know them did not even come into existence until 1854 (Boston), 1889 (LA), 1895 (New York) and 1883 (Brooklyn). I could not find any reference to any Michigan public libraries from the 19th century (At age 7, Edison was living in Michigan). Back in 1854, Lincoln was still a lawyer working the "circuit" traveling from city to city trying cases, the Kansas Nebraska act was then passed and it excited him to run for office, we were still fighting the Indians and the wars would not end until 1890.

Andrew Carnegie built his libraries across America from 1883-1929 and in the year 1919, he had built 2,509 of the 3,500 libraries known to exits so it seems this whole story makes me wonder as to it's validity. Abe Lincoln reported a story that when he was a teenager, he borrowed a book about the life of George Washington and because he stored in in between the logs in his home (the chinking leaked during a rainstorm and ruined the book), he had to go back to this neighbor and work off his debt (the price of the book).

1854 for a public library in Michigan?, I doubt it. More likely he borrowed books from neighbors or being only 7, his mother did that for him (even the first public libraries were only for adults, children's libraries did not come into fashion until the turn of the century.). If I am to buy this story at all, the most likely library he could have gone to was a SOCIAL library, not a public one!

When I say privatize the library, I am saying lets go back and learn from the past, social libraries do work!

Let's Privatize the library and save a whopping 1.1 MILLION dollars!
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Re: Library Budget

Postby RayWhipple » Fri Jan 28, 2011 8:01 pm

Why is it everything in your world Dennis saves 1 million if we privatize it? Has anyone else notice that?
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Re: Library Budget

Postby Jeannine Stergios » Sat Feb 05, 2011 1:38 am

And we're spending 50% of what Manchester spends on its library?

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Re: Library Budget

Postby tastyratz » Mon Feb 14, 2011 3:14 pm

I agree, how those numbers from Dennis are fabricated is quite peculiar.

Dennis, This is a town library, not a state library. We "privitized" it within the town lets pat ourselves on the back!
This is not big government and state pension.

-

It is very easy to sum up the number of employee's and the workers with the most limited hours but what about aggregate?

On a given month how many total man hours are worked?
I also think potentially consolidating the infrequent positions might be wise.


Of these programs offered by the town library, are any of them paid or are they all free?
Has anyone visited the concept of perhaps charging a nominal fee to offset costs at these events?

For example, the class on how to use the internet. What if attendees were charged $10 or $20 for this class? Still significantly reduced yet more than affordably priced.

Those who qualify as low income or unemployment might be marked as exempt.

That is a very small "co-pay" that obviously does not fully offset but incrementally adds up.

Also, looking at increasing the late book fee could net additional income from patrons utilizing the service (at the same time easing from those who don't)

I am not looking to turn this into a for profit private business, but perhaps the services provided by the library could be offset slightly?
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Re: Library Budget

Postby Pat McGrath » Thu Feb 17, 2011 2:12 pm

What public libraries can and can not do is mostly governed by NH RSA 202-A. As for charging for services, the following from that statute is important:

 202-A:5 Status. – Every public library shall remain forever free to the use of every resident of the town wherein it is located.

As for staffing and consolidating positions, it sounds like a great idea on paper; in practice it would not work. First of all you have the sheer volume of work –checking out 291,000 items, checking back in 291,000 items and reshelving 291,000 items for a total of 873,000 items. You need a certain volume of people to do this work. All library employees –even the Director perform these tasks. Age and seniority or titles don't come into play in their hands or series of tasks.

So if we consolidate the 20 part timers –none of whom qualify for any benefits such as health insurance or pension, we first of all will not have enough people to handle the work. For some, they would get more hours –but enough that they now automatically qualify for the benefits –which means really no cost savings.

Now for a fact the Merrimack Public Library offers many programs. Those, like how to use the Internet, is really an extension of the Reference area where the public computers are located. So having trained staff teach these skills is part of their duties and makes for smarter and more adept patrons. Other programs that have costs associated with them –like the the Adult programs or some the Children programs, the money comes from a state grant of $250, and the rest from fundraisers –like those book sales. Merrimack Friends & Families make a generous donation every year. Friends of the Library do as well.

As for fines, sure, we could raise the amount of the fines, but the money does not offset the budget. In the last fiscal year (2009-10) a little over $15,000 in fine money was used to purchase materials (books, DVDs, CDs, etc) over and above what was allocated in the Town Budget. Another $22,000 was used for materials, memberships to public access databases (which you can reach from home or in a few instances only at the Library) and programs. You will see these numbers in the Town Report which is published every year around the time of the Deliberative Session. Several years back the boiler and heating system crashed. It had to be replaced and it was to the tune of $69,000. It didn't cost the taxpayers anything. The budget had passed, the boiler bit the dust, so the Board of Trustees authorized payment from the Fines account that had built up to that point in time. Had the money not been there, the Town Manger at the time would have had to find it elsewhere --- maybe not pave a road, layoff people, or something else that would be drastic.

So I hope this answers some the points that have been raised in the forum.

Pat
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Re: Library Budget

Postby Dennis King » Thu Feb 17, 2011 2:18 pm

Pat McGrath wrote:What public libraries can and can not do is mostly governed by NH RSA 202-A. As for charging for services, the following from that statute is important:

 202-A:5 Status. – Every public library shall remain forever free to the use of every resident of the town wherein it is located.

Pat


Pat, all the problems you site go away if we privatize the library, yup, save money, can even have volunteers, and better service if we privatize. Sort of a "back to the future" as social libraries were the original libraries in this country. We can learn a lot from our ancestors. Before we built up a legion of highly paid union employees, we had social libraries that worked with great effect.

The answer is simple, zero out the library funding and put out an RFP to see who is interested in running this.
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Re: Library Budget

Postby TonyRichardson » Thu Feb 17, 2011 2:24 pm

Pat McGrath wrote:
As for staffing and consolidating positions, it sounds like a great idea on paper; in practice it would not work. First of all you have the sheer volume of work –checking out 291,000 items, checking back in 291,000 items and reshelving 291,000 items for a total of 873,000 items. You need a certain volume of people to do this work. All library employees –even the Director perform these tasks. Age and seniority or titles don't come into play in their hands or series of tasks.

Pat




No....it makes for 291,000 item transactions that require 3 movements....Out>In>Store

Moving one item 3 times does not magically produce 3 distinct items.


Shall we speculate how many ACTUAL items that truly represents?

Some items in inventory will be checked in and out multiple times a week, some inventory items will never move at all.
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