By: Sheila Hoffmeyer, President of the Board of Trustees
For: Red Rock News
Date: August 27, 2010
Library Thanks Public Funders for Support
“On behalf of the Board of Trustees, staff and volunteers of Sedona Public Library, thank you for approving the FY2011 contract for services. We are very proud of the many services the Library provides, and we will strive to continue to operate with fiscal prudence and efficiency.” Excerpted from the letters sent in July to the mayor and city council members, similar letters were sent to Yavapai and Coconino county commissioners. Without the continuing support of public funders, the services the Sedona Public Library offers the community would cease or be severely reduced.
Incorporated in 1966 as a non-profit corporation, the Sedona Public Library’s articles of incorporations state that the objective shall be:
- To establish and maintain a public Library or libraries, reading room and other facilities for the benefit of education, enjoyment, literary and cultural advancement of the public of Sedona, Arizona, and vicinity.
To provide Library services to the Sedona community, the Library contracts with local government – the City of Sedona and Yavapai and Coconino Counties – for funds that are ear marked to cover the majority of the day-to-day operations of the Library. All major improvements to the building and grounds are funded entirely by private donations.
In addition we are extremely fortunate to have a dedicated Friends of the Sedona Library organization whose fundraising activities provided $109,720 in unrestricted donations in the year ending May 31, 2010. Without this support, the Library would not have sufficient funds for such important activities as collection development and the children’s summer reading program.
For the past two years, balancing the budget has been particularly challenging. The impact of tax revenue reductions has impacted the ability of the City of Sedona to maintain the level of funding provided in FY2009. With less funds coming into the City coffers, it is understandable that the Library has experienced a reduction in funds from $431,830 to $369,220 for FY2011 which for the Library begins June 1, 2010 and ends May 31, 2011. Coconino County also reduced funds by $24,000 for the fiscal year beginning June 1, 2010 from $450,130 to $425,840. Fortunately, we are receiving a 5% increase from Yavapai County from $189,800 in FY2010 to $199,290.
In August 2009 in an effort to reduce operating expenses, the Library cut its hours of operation from 55 per week to 48. We will continue to operate on a schedule that includes those reduced hours until public funding returns to a level that will allow us to return to a seven day a week schedule. You might be interested to know that while the Library reduced hours by 14.5%, our patron visits only decreased 1.6% which means the demand for services for every hour of operation actually increased last year when 198,593 patrons came to the Library.
Circulation, the number of items checked out, remained fairly constant at 206,780 this year from 206,660 last year. We continue to be an active participant in the Yavapai County Network’s Intra-Library loan system. We loaned more than 31,000 items to other libraries and borrowed almost 23,000 items for Sedona patrons (up 21%). The number of items loaned to libraries and borrowed for our patrons through Inter-Library loan (outside the county) also increased slightly.
Programs are another key measure of the Library activities. We offered 616 programs with an attendance of 10,500, an increase in attendance of 48%. What accounts for such a large increase in program attendance? Offering programs of specific interest to area patrons is part of the answer. Another factor is that the Library partners with organizations to bring programs at no cost to the Library or to those who attend them. Many residents tell us that the quality and affordability of Library programs are primary reasons they attend so frequently.
Patrons are accessing the online catalog from home and taking advantage of the ability to check their accounts and reserve items in this convenient way. The number of web site connections to MY ACCOUNT (almost 71,500) and the number of items reserved via that tool (more than 41,000) have each increased by 12%.
Figures for Sedona Public Library in the Village show similar patterns. Circulation remained constant at over 21,000 items, with 97% of the material arriving via holds placed by patrons for pickup there. Foot traffic in the site was 19,043, an 11% increase. The number of programs offered in the Village was 12 with 337 people in attendance. Funds to operate the Village Center come from Yavapai County, the Friends and private donations.
The Board of Trustees values and appreciates the dedicated Library staff that serves the patrons of our community. In addition, we value the many individual volunteers that in 2010 contributed 18,880 hours performing a variety of tasks that are critical to the Libraries daily operation.
If you haven’t visited the Library in the past couple months, you’ll be pleased to see that the entrance on White Bear Road has been reconfigured and expanded for safety and to improve the traffic flow in and out of the parking lot. Please observe the one way traffic pattern and follow the signage to exit the lot properly. Funds for the improvements to White Bear Road and the recent parking lot expansion were paid for by private donations that are designated by the Board for building improvements.
Our private/public Library depends on both municipal support and dedicated volunteers and donors. Let the City of Sedona and Yavapai and Coconino County commissioners know how much you appreciate the Sedona Public Library and that you approve their funding of the Library.
Library News appears each Friday in the Red Rock News and is also presented on: Gateway to Sedona and Sedona Biz.
Sheila Hoffmeyer, author of this week's article, is President of the Board of Trustees of the Sedona Public Library.