As the proverb states: when you fall down, you have to dust yourself off and get up again. The past two years at the library definitely fit that axiom.
We have never been more successful regarding services to our patrons. An average of 600 people a day use our facility. Last year we circulated an almost record amount of materials: more than 246,000 items. Our five story times are at or near capacity every week. In other words, we are a hit.
However, when you take a look at our financial ledger, we are not so successful. Our operating budget has lost money four out of the past five years. Over that period, we have lost $143,747—mainly through cuts from the state.
The reason we are still open after racking up this deficit is that we were able to draw from a small financial cushion. That cushion is now depleted and we are forced to cut hours, reduce book purchases and eliminate some digital databases. The current 2010 budget is actually smaller than the 1998 budget even though many expenses such as insurance and utilities are now much higher.
Over the past few months patrons and members of our community have responded to our appeals for help. The generosity has been heartwarming and to everyone who has given, we thank you.
We still need help. We at MPL understand that this is a tough economy with many groups and organizations in need. I have listed below several ways in which anyone can help the library with or without involving money. Please take a moment to peruse the following list and see if you see yourself contributing in some way.
* Most of us have books that we don’t want any more: why not donate them to the library? Books that cannot be used in the collection will be sold at the semi-annual sale, placed on the regular sale shelf or sold on Amazon.com. If you have heavy boxes or bags, please call ahead at 336-1773, ext. 303 and ask for Gary. He will arrange to have someone at the library assist in unloading your materials.
* Due to cutbacks, all of our landscaping budget has been eliminated this year. Consider donating mulch. We went through 20 yards of the stuff last year. Or if you can donate just a few dollars at the main floor box marked “Front Flowers,” we will put it to good use—either towards mulch or flowers.
* Think about giving a lasting donation in your will to the library. We have an informative brochure titled “Get Involved” which provides all details. Request a copy at the Main Desk or call my office at 336-1773, ext. 302 for more details.
* Finally, we welcome donations to the Patron’s Drive. Every dollar goes to purchase new materials. With our trade discount, we get almost twice the buying power. I know of no other organization that makes a dollar go further.
These are difficult times indeed, but with your help we will continue to dust ourselves off and remain standing.