Libraries cut services as state aid drops

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Capital News Service
LANSING — As state aid grows smaller and smaller, many libraries in Michigan are cutting back on their services.
For the 2001-2002 budget year state aid to libraries was $14 million.
For the 2002-2003 budget year, which began in October, $13.4 million has been budgeted.
For libraries such as the Capital Area District Library in Lansing, and the Grace A. Dow Library in Midland, state aid makes up a small portion of their funding.
Libraries receive state aid based upon the population for the areas they serve, said William Anderson, director of the Department of History, Arts, and Libraries.
“Libraries receive, then decide how they will spend that money,” he said.
The state makes up 3 percent of a $7.9 million budget, said Sue Hill, director of the Capital Area District Library.
The library’s main source of revenue comes from property taxes at $6 million and court fines at $780,000, Hill said.
Hill said, “our funding is eroding.”
“In a three-year period we have lost more than $50,000 in state aid.
” She said in 2000 the library received $260,000; in 2001, $235,00;in 2002, $208,000 and in 2003 expects $205,000 in state aid.
Hill said the loss of funding will hurt the library.
For example, she said, “the loss of $2,500 won’t allow us to buy 127 more books.
” In 2002 the library spent $1.76 million on books and in 2003 will spend $1.2 million.
She said the loss of funding will also reduce their services, and programs, but it will not affect any positions.
Melissa Barnard, director of the Dow Library, said the library receives most of its funding from the city of Midland.
For the 2001-02 the city contributed $2.5 million and the state contributed $56,000 she said.
“We’re not struggling for funding and the state funding is a small portion of our budget,” Barnard said.
“The city of Midland forms a greater percentage of our budget, and they have been very supportive of the library,” she said.
Barnard said that helps to put the library in a better position.
“If the state cuts our funding differently across the state and from the community,” Barnard said.
“Libraries are funded differently across the state and from community,” said Barnard.
“The $2.85 million from Midland represents an increase of $350,00,” said Barnard.
© 2002, Capital News Service, Michigan State University School of Journalism

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