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Library News

By: Virginia Volkman, Library Director
For: Red Rock News
Date: March 26, 2010

Sedona Public Library Can Save You Money

Sedona Public Library is nearing the end of this fiscal year budget and is now planning for the next budget year which begins in June.  If you were planning your own budget, how much money would you allo for the purchase of books, newspapers, and magazines?  If you visit the library on a regular basis, you can skip that exercise and leave it to us.

There’s an easy way to calculate what it would cost you if you had to budget for the services that the library provides for you.  Visit the American Library Association website at and put the word calculator in the search box.  Then go to the Library Value Calculator. 

You can find out how much you would have to pay out-of-pocket for almost everything you get at the Sedona Public Library.  Simply enter the number of times each month that you use each service and the value of those services will be calculated.

Let’s assume you make one visit to the library this month.  If you borrow just a single book at an estimated cost of $17, a magazine at $5, a movie at $4, an audio book at $9.95 and also use a library computer for just an hour ($12), the calculator tells you that the library has a value of $47.95 for you for that month, for just one visit. 

A typical library patron might check out four movies during a visit and is back the next week to do the same.  If it’s a weekly habit, 16 movies a month are borrowed, with a monthly value of $64 and a yearly value of $768.

This year the library is allocating $142,000 for the purchase of books, newspapers, magazines, DVDs, CDs and electronic resources.  Combine that purchasing power with the quality donations that arrive each day and are added to the collection, and residents and visitors have a big and varied group of new items from which to choose.

Housing the collection and providing space for readers, computer users and programs means that the budget must include the cost of cleaning, heating and cooling, electricity, building repairs and other facility expenses.  Altogether that account for almost $130,000 of the budget.

The library has an agreement with the Yavapai Library Network.  We pay for the use of the shared software to run our library – to check items in and out, issue library cards, and have the online catalog.  We’re also able to exchange books between libraries through this contract.  If the latest book you borrowed came from another Yavapai County library, there was no charge for you, but we do pay for this convenience.   Sedona Public Library’s network fees will be about $27,000 this year. 

Volunteers reduce the cost of staffing the library, but salary costs are still the largest portion of the budget.

The total budget for this year is $1,203,336. The good news is that by reducing spending we will come in under budget.  Sedona Public Library is a non-profit organization that provides the services of a public library through contracts with local government.   Our private/public partnership offers remarkable services at a reasonable cost.

The funds for the day-to-day operation of the library come mainly from the City of Sedona and Yavapai and Coconino Counties.  Additional funding comes from Friends of the Sedona Library, fees charged for services, and donations.   All major improvements to the building and grounds are funded entirely by private donations.

Take a look at how you use the library.  Do you borrow books or movies?  Do you read a magazine or daily newspaper at the library?  Do you attend a program, use a computer or tap into our wireless connection?  Calculate the value of the library in your life.  You’ll most likely find that the library saves you money. 

Balancing the budget is a challenge.  Our private/public library depends on both municipal support and dedicated volunteers and donors.  Let the City of Sedona know how much you appreciate the Sedona Public Library and that you approve their funding of the library.

Finally, we encourage you to mark your calendar for cost-saving programs at the library.  AARP Tax Preparation Help is offered as a free service on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 10 am until 2 pm through April 15 in the Si Birch Community Room.

Stock up on great deals at the Friends of the Library Book Sale.  From April 24 through May 2 during regular library hours and on Sunday April 25 and Sunday May 2 from noon to 5 pm you can pick up quality items at bargain prices.  Become a member of the Friends of the Sedona Library and you can attend the Preview Night on April 23.

Virginia Volkman, author of this week's article,
is Director of the Sedona Public Library.

Library News appears each Friday in the Red Rock News
and is also presented on: Gateway to Sedona and Sedona Biz.