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Library Presents Balanced Budget, Struggles With Smaller Staff

Baldwin Public Library's 2012-13 budget will be one to consider as a joint city committee continues to study potential renovations plans for the library building.

, is back on its feet again — and library administrators already are looking ahead.

In a presentation to the Birmingham City Commission April 21, Library Director Doug Koschik outlined a budget for 2012-13 that balances the budget just as the library returns to full service hours and requests a smaller millage from the city.

Meanwhile, a joint committee made up of library board members and city commissioners continue to discuss the .

Library balances budget for second year in a row

According to Koschik, the outlook for 2012-13 is bright, especially as the library expects to balance its budget for a second year in a row.

During the next fiscal year, Baldwin expects to bring in $2.94 million in revenue while only spending $2.93 million. In total, revenues are projected to exceed expenditures by more than $14,000 in 2012-13.

That makes it the second year in a row for a balanced budget at Baldwin. For fiscal year 2011-12, the library is expected to come in under budget by almost $24,000. This is much better than projected last year, Koschik said; the original 2011-12 library budget included a $115,000 deficit.

In addition, despite initial cuts to service hours, the library is back to 67 hours a week with no furlough days for employees.

"We have achieved our goal of balancing the budget by reducing operating costs and maintaining an adequate flow of revenue," Koschik said in his presentation to commissioners. "Baldwin's goal is to provide excellent service while acting in fiscally responsible manner."

With 2011-12 marked by new revenue sources —which will bring in $268,681 a year — the library is requesting a smaller millage in 2012-13.

The library is requesting 1.1 mills for the next fiscal year, down from the 1.32 mills this year. Much of the millage money this year was spent on capital improvement projects, such as purchasing self check-out stations and a mechanized sorting system.

Baldwin's staff now the smallest in 20 years

Still, Baldwin continues to struggle with a shrinking staff. Since 2008, the library's full-time head count has decreased from 26 to 14, its lowest level in more than 20 years.

In 2011, Baldwin did begin hiring again after the hiring freeze imposed in 2009, but only part-time employees with few to no benefits.

However, the library plans to cut back on staff concessions in 2012-13, mostly due to increased revenue from the contract with Bloomfield Hills. In 2012-13, the library plans to resume paying for staff parking, a practice it discontinued in 2010.

But fewer employees present an on-going challenge to Baldwin, Koschik noted in his presentation. Eleven years ago, Baldwin had approximately the same revenue and expenses as it does today. However, 11 years ago, the library had six additional full-time employees conducting fewer transactions.

Since 2001, circulation at Baldwin is expected to jump 107 percent while the number of visits to the library will grow by 15 percent.

Committee to meet studying library renovation plans

Meanwhile, a joint committee studying the future of the library building will meet May 7.

The committee, formed earlier this year, is considering two proposed renovation options for the library building, which hasn't been renovated for 30 years. At the city's long-term planning session in January, .

One plan renovates the entire building while maintaining roughly the same floorplan. The plan involves reorganizing the Birkerts addition, where a large part of the library's nonfiction section, teen area, public computers and DVD collection is housed. The plan also involves adding more study rooms and bumping out a wall in the youth room.

The second plan, estimated to cost nearly $10 million, would add an entrance off Martin Street, shift the floorplans of the entire building and update the second floor by adding more study rooms, an auditorium and a rooftop terrace.

The joint committee has been charged with investigating the renovation plans, and will solicit public input as well as study comparable data from surrounding libraries.

Once the library's needs and public expectations are determined, Koschik said the committee will then develop an appropriate building plan and discuss timing and financial arrangements.

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