Archive for Thursday, May 22, 2008

Library collection size could decrease

May 22, 2008


T, other city services in budget hot seat

The city's bus service may be the hot ticket item as city commissioners consider next year's budget. Enlarge video

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.


stuckinthemiddle 9 years, 11 months ago

blue73harley good thoughts... great idea...

Janet Lowther 9 years, 11 months ago

The genius of a library is in the old books.They might not circulate a lot. (In 1992 I checked out several books from the KU library which seemed to have last been checked out over 50 years previously and found them immensely useful, as contemporary records of my subject.) Those old books are the history of society.Now, I can see maybe casting out books on ephemeral topics (Any book dedicated to a specific computer product has a VERY short life before it is hopelessly obsolete!) But even these have a historical value, however small.The present library has several thousand square feet which seem to be devoted to the book sale. Perhaps this space could be reallocated to be additional stacks or computer labs or whatever it is which is displacing stacks. Likewise, the library could invest in taller shelving units, if the floors can handle the load.The building is a LIBRARY. Libraries are about making books available. All other functions are secondary to keeping books available.

number3of5 9 years, 11 months ago

Shouldn't a library be more about books to read, than a place to hold meetings? Even expanding the computers could be questionable as they should be used as a resource instead of for personal uses. Just my opinion.

1029 9 years, 11 months ago

I wonder how much the library pays that collection agency to start hassling (now former) library patrons for $3.00 owed on a book that was 37 days past due. The last time I was in that library was about a year ago. I went to the counter to check out a few books and ready to pay a fine that I figured would be three dollars. They wanted $28.00 from me and told me it was because a $25 collection fee had been added to the fine. I told them to keep my card and left. About two weeks later, I finally get a letter from a collection agency wanting that money. During the 37 days that I had the overdue book (without realizing it) the library had never called me or sent me a letter.

TacoBob 9 years, 10 months ago

Sounds like Bruce is being very reasonable and dealing with the budget he has to live with. He is dealing with the reality of reduced funding much better than other parts of the city. Sounds like a good plan to improve circulation and provide services that are meeting the needs of the patrons. No tantrums going on here, just solid decision making and positive steps during hard times. As for the rest of you, step it up!

Flap Doodle 9 years, 10 months ago

"Anonymous userjrlii (Anonymous) says:The genius of a library is in the old books."I agree 100%. Not everything worth knowing has been published within the last 20 years.

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