What a difference a year makes.
Last year leaders of the Lawrence Public Library were still lobbying for a new library building, larger staff size and a budget increase.
Now, during what's shaping up to be one of the tightest city budgets in memory, library leaders are contemplating decreasing its collection size in an effort to make its building work better.
"We understand that we're going to be in that building for the foreseeable future, but it is still the same inadequate building," said Chris Burger, chair of the library's board of directors. "We're really going to start looking at reconfiguring the library space."
City commissioners were briefed on library operations as part of city budget hearings on Wednesday.
Bruce Flanders, director of the library, said his staff is looking at reducing the overall size of the collection from about 260,000 items to about 220,000 to 230,000 items.
Flanders said staff members will look at what parts of the collection are the least used and try to reduce those areas. He said space would then be identified for additional public computers, meeting space and reading room space in the 36-year-old library building.
"Studies show that a smaller, well-weeded collection actually circulates better than a collection with a lot of deadwood in it," Flanders said.
Flanders, though, said the library will continue to purchase new items. The library's proposed 2009 budget calls for $500,000 worth of purchases of print materials. Flanders said the library strives to replace about 5 percent of its collection each year.
Overall, the library is seeking $3.05 million in city tax dollars, up from $3.02 million in 2008. Flanders said the nearly flat budget means library employees, on average, will be limited to a 1 percent pay increase.