As you, our patrons, know, 2009 saw a long and only partially successful campaign to maintain level funding by the state for public libraries. As we head into 2010, the impact of those cuts are beginning to be known. You have probably seen the newspaper articles about the Delaware County libraries that are cutting the hours they are open. Continued access to the databases offered by libraries have also been under review, as have interlibrary loans. So, what’s happening with the Upper Darby Libraries in this new, less-funded world?
First, the good news. There are no plans to cut the hours that any of the Upper Darby Libraries are open. As long as financially feasible to do so, we will continue to be open for over 70 hours a week at the Sellers/Main Branch, and an average of 60 hours weekly at the Municipal and Primos branches. More good news – the popular tutor.dom Live Homework Help service and the Reference USA business directory, separately funded by the Delaware County Council, will also be continued. Live Homework Help has even found a way to expand their services and hours. More good news? – The Delaware County Library System will continue its support of the InterLibrary Loan system, allowing patrons to borrow from libraries across the state and the country.
How did we do this? With lots of help. As mentioned above, the Delaware County Library System and County Council have decided to support three important and expensive services that are offered to patrons through their local library – in this case, the Upper Darby Libraries. These are services that we could not offer without this financial support. But the most important source of help has been you – through the township of Upper Darby.
The 2010 township budget provides continued support for the libraries. While it did not make up for the almost $100,000 lost in state aid (and no one expected it to do so!), the township funding will be enough to let us stay open and available.
So where will the difference be made up? In three main areas – staffing, materials, property maintenance. Staff salaries will remain static, and only vacant positions will be filled – no increases in staffing. The number of new books, movies, cd’s and so forth will be reduced. We’ll still get as many of those new titles you want as we can - but probably only one or two copies. This will mean longer waits for the good stuff. Property maintenance – we’ll be looking to the Friends of the Library, grants, and other alternate funding sources for anything bigger than basic maintenance. The same will be true for new and old programming alike.
So what’s left to figure out? Still up in the air are the state-funded databases, known as the POWER Library. The latest word from the State is that these subscriptions are being re-bid and downsized. When we know what that means, we’ll pass it along to you.