Bay County Library System Seeks to Retain Services with Renewal Millage
October 12, 2010
By: Dave Rogers
Libraries are operating on an $600,000 reduction in revenue but are experiencing increased demand for services.
That was part of the message of Tom Birch, director of the Bay County Library System, to the Rotary Club of Bay City last Tuesday.
He noted that voters in 2006 twice rejected renewal requests for 1.2 mills for four years for operation of libraries. In November 2007 a 1 mill request for three years won approval. The reduced levy left libraries short of funds and staff and services levels were trimmed to meet the budget.
"With tightened belts, and beginning in early 2008, library leaders were determined to restore library service to as near 2006 levels as possible," he said. That has been done as nearly as possible.
Mr. Birch summarized:
"Sage Branch Library was reopened; hours at all buildings were increased; bookmobile service was reinstated for three days a week; Sunday hours during the school year were brought back at Wirt; Michigan-wide interlibrary loan was re-established; and, an increased emphasis was placed on providing a wide variety of programming for people of all ages; all with reduced staffing compared with 2006 levels."
Even with a renewal on Nov. 2 of the 1 mill operating tax, revenues will go down another $350,000, Mr. Birch estimated.
The 1 mill now will produce only about 58 percent of operating revenue in 2011, Mr. Birch said. Reason for the drop is steadily falling property values, according to the Bay County equalization department.
"Even with successful renewal of this millage, we are expecting a budget shortfall next year of around $350,000 as revenue decreases and expenses increase," the director said, concluding:
"Without approval of this millage, we will compelled to return to the dark days of 2007, when library hours were greatly reduced and services were sharply curtailed.
Why libraries and books in the age of technology?
"The public library is all about promoting and enabling literacy in a democratic society -- nurturing reading and critical thinking skills in a place where everybody is welcome and treated equally," said Mr. Birch.
"The public library is evolving into a Community Center, providing a wide variety of activity for a broad cross-section of people. Tomorrow's entrepreneurs and businesses will need and demand an educated work force. The business person who might be considering opening a venture in our community will expect its schools and libraries to support that need."
CLUB NEWS and ANNOUNCEMENTS
The working group established to discuss and make recommendations to the Board concerning dues, fund raising, and charitable grants
will meet at 9:30am Monday Oct 18
at Jerome Yantz's office, 1600 Center Avenue.
Congratulations and thanks to Brenda Scramlin
who achieved her Paul Harris Fellowship status for contributions to the Rotary Foundation.
deliveries are being scheduled now. If you want to deliver to schools please contact Chuck Cusick as soon as possible.
(See the official schedule at
October 19: Youth Study Exchange
Presented by Brenda Rowley.
October 26: **Off Site** luncheon at the Delta College Planetarium
Club members will experience the brand new 360-degree theater and hear about the expanded capabilities.
November 2: A Constitutional Convention appears as a ballot issue once every 16 years. Cindy Luczak discusses what it means to Michigan if approved by voters.
DATES TO REMEMBER
International Night - October 14, 2010.