It's budget time, usually not the most fun, but also not bad - usually.
This year is different. The County Administrator, Robert Sivick, did not include an increase in the county budget for YOUR 8 Waushara County libraries. Because bills from libraries in neighboring counties (I'll explain in a minute), increased, your libraries will get a budget cut next year of $5344 split between us.
It doesn't sound like much, but librarians are like teachers, we do a lot of things off the clock and with our own money so that our patrons have a better library. We are also more esoteric in what we do - much of our work does not relate to a specific dollar and cents amount, but to a benefit that may not be seen for years, such as reading to a child, or providing an after-school program, etc.
How Library Funding works in Wisconsin.
There are 4 funding sources for Wisconsin Libraries:
1. Wisconsin funds Library Systems, who in turn provide YOUR library with necessary support.
2. Waushara County funds libraries in two ways: it reimburses libraries for use by county residents who live in areas that don’t have their own libraries and it funds the Winnefox Cooperative Technical Services, which provides support services to your libraries so they can put more effort into direct service to you.
Every summer the directors of the 8 libraries send a funding request for the next year to the County Board’s Library Services Committee. The request is calculated by a method agreed upon by the county and the libraries that attempts to fairly divide library funding among all county residents. The Committee may approve the libraries’ request as-is or make changes before they send it to the County Administrator.
3. The municipalities where each of YOUR County Libraries are located.
4. Most townships generously provide additional funding to the libraries. Libraries also receive funding from neighboring counties if they have a lot of use from another county’s residents.
Cross-County Borrowing (Act 420)
Waushara County also reimburses libraries in neighboring counties for use by county residents. People use the services, stores and libraries that are most convenient for them. When that library is in another county it’s only fair that Waushara County pay for that use, just as it reimburses the libraries in Waushara County for use by residents. In 2007 Wisconsin passed a law known as Act 420 which requires counties to pay libraries in adjacent counties for use by their residents.
We all know times are tough. Money is tight, but costs do increase. Materials cost more, we hope to give our staffs, who are not on par with other libraries, a raise, and health insurance is sure to go up.
Please consider contacting your county supervisor supporting library funding in the county budget.