Library seeks ideas from public to reduce operating budget

 

NORFOLK County Public Library Board of Directors is asking the public to weigh in on its efforts to reduce the 2021 operating budget.
Norfolk County Council asked the Library Board to look for a 10% reduction in spending.
The 10% reduction will cost the library $289,000, to be spread out over its six branches.
NCPL board chair Adam Veri is not looking forward to the cuts.
“There’s not a lot of fat to trim,” Mr Veri said. “Management is already allocating resources effectively and eliminating superfluous expenditures. Unfortunately, being well-managed leaves the Library Board with no obvious solution to reduce costs without significantly impacting service to the public. We’re heading toward an inevitable reduction in operating hours and potential cuts to programming. Closing a Branch is also on the table.”
Municipal funding accounts for 92% of the library’s budget. The remaining 8% comes from a provincial grant (4%), fees and service charges (2%), and donations (2%).
Human resource costs are the library’s top expense, consuming 63% of its funding.
“Reducing human resource costs through restructuring is more complex than deciding to just get by with fewer people,” Veri said. “Library staff have specialized education and training. They are skilled employees and valuable assets to the corporation. If we cut staff, the benefits the library offers to the public will be impacted.”
Other expenses include services to the public (11%), library materials (9%), materials and supplies (7%), interdepartmental charges (6%), long-term debt (3%), and transfer to reserve (1%).
“The NCPL is focused on the best interests of the whole community,” NCPL CEO Heather King explained. “The board and management agree that we want the community to have a genuine opportunity to participate and contribute to the decisions, and that the approaches we take are inclusive and appropriate.”
A schedule of engagement opportunities and the survey is available online at ncpl.ca. If you have questions about the NCPL community engagement strategy, survey, or about the library in general, email norfolk.library@norfolkcounty.ca or by phone (519) 426-3506 ext 1253 to speak to NCPL CEO Heather King.

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