I've been thinking about my colleagues today. This article pretty much says it: "Public libraries see more people, but are having to slash costs"
"There are more people, and there's been an increase in computer use," said Kristal Holmes, director of the Auburndale Public Library. Holmes said she has seen many people applying for unemployment and filling out job applications on the library's computers, as well as people filling out forms for Florida Department of Children and Families benefits, such as food stamps, Medicaid and temporary cash assistance.
It's a nasty double whammy. As soon as people can no longer afford to buy books and DVDs, they remember public libraries ... right around the time that library funding gets decimated due to falling tax receipts.
For obvious reasons, this article on al.com is quite relevant to me. (Hopefully I don't have to spell out why?)
[The library director] has a meeting to discuss the status of a grant. And over the course of this day she has lots of meetings, all centered on one theme: money, a sore, but necessary, subject in these tough economic times.
How much money will come from grants and governments this year? Depends.
How much will come from private donors and corporate sponsors this year? Depends.
What's the best way to spend any additional funds? That's an easy one: "Wisely," [she] says.
It's the perennial challenge of any non-profit: how to keep the doors open and provide as many useful, wanted services as possible while on a limited and often uncertain budget? Miracles can be accomplished reasonably easily with unlimited funding; it takes far more talented and dedicated public servants to make budget miracles, when staffing, resources, and equipment are stretched thin.
We'll make do, and we won't do everything we want or need to do, but this is our reality and we must work within its parameters.
With that said, anyone got a magic wand I can borrow? My code's not behaving.